Cayman 27 – ARCHIVE
Culture News

CIS students aim to preserve Cayman’s oral history

Cayman’s culture and history took centre stage at Cayman International School’s second annual oral history event, where students heard stories of our islands’ past from those who lived it.

Dozens of voices blended as one inside the CIS multi-purpose room last Thursday (30 May).

A closer listen reveals a people’s story, told by the individuals who lived it.

Stories from around the corner, and around the world.

Former seaman Elbert Connor shared his memories from a New Year’s day incident at sea in 1967 in the Middle East.

“What happened was, there was a fishing boat and it had the lights off, and we hit the fisherman’s boat and sinked it, so we had to circle around for about five hours to pick up all of the survivors,” said Mr. Connor.

Another theme: Change. Former schoolteacher Marge Quinland has seen her share as Cayman has evolved into what it is today.

“You have the financial industry, the banks and all of those, the hotels and all of those kind of things, restaurants, and people coming and going, it’s not a quiet and still community like it used to be,” said Ms. Quinland.

“We teach other countries culture and history but not our own,” said former House Speaker Mary Lawrence.

She told Cayman 27 says events like these bring Cayman’s unwritten history to a new generation.

“It is in dire need for children to learn who we are and to know who we are,” said Ms. Lawrence.

“If this generation does not capture it, it’s going to get lost,” added Ms. Quinland.

CIS secondary social studies teacher Kevin Hamlin told Cayman 27 his students will transcribe their interviews, which will be submitted to the national archive.

“Hopefully those can be a part of or a history of Cayman and record some of the stories of these events so that they are in history and written, and not forgotten,” said Mr. Hamlin.

Roughly 45 students conducted interviews with some 40 guest participants.


About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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