Saturday 19 September, 2020

Ministry and Department of Education remember Penny McDowall

The Ministry and Department of Education in a release on Friday remembered Penny McDowall as a dedicated special needs educator.

McDowall passed away on January 2 after battling cancer.

In remembering  McDowall, Minster with responsibility for Education, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said that, “ Penny embodied the qualities of a successful special needs educator – patience, acceptance, organisation, intuition, creativity, and a fun personality” .

According to O’Connor-Connolly, these attributes are what drew her students to her and endeared her to everyone who had the opportunity to meet her or work alongside her.  Her passionate advocacy for the special needs community has inspired so many and encouraged the increased inclusion of special needs individuals in all segments of society. 

“Her passing has indeed left a void but her contributions will always be remembered by those whose lives she touched, and also by the accomplishments of her students and athletes,” said O’Connor-Connolly.

Penny McDowall was an active member of the teaching staff at Lighthouse School for over 20 years where she was employed from 1993 to 2013 as a Special Education Teacher. 


Penny was a vibrant teacher whose passion was seeing her students achieve success, whether big or small.  She had a special energy that she brought to her teaching and any activities in which she was involved.  During her time at the school, she was instrumental in starting the swimming programme, facilitating students’ participation in the National Children’s Festival of the Arts, providing the musical accompaniment for weekly devotions and spearheading many Christmas concerts where her musical talents came to life. 

She was the life of the parties at the school, and all the students adored her.  Mrs. Penny was always willing to go above and beyond to ensure that her students were able to participate in as many inclusive activities as possible, even if it entailed her working outside of regular school hours which she never hesitated to do.

She was also an active member of the Special Olympics Cayman Islands organisation and was diligently committed to seeing that her athletes had the opportunity to participate in various local, regional, and international competitions. Penny was more than a teacher to her students; she was a mother figure, nurse, advocate and coach.  Some of the Lighthouse School students described her as “helpful, wonderful, kind, nice, good and happy”.  There truly is no better legacy to leave than that. She will be greatly missed.

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