Triple C School was started in October, 1941 because of a great need on the island of Grand Cayman for a structured academic education beyond the 6th grade level. Bro. Orrie Merren and his sister, Sis. Ena Merren had a vision for this school and made it a matter of prayer. When the Ratzlaffs, two young missionaries arrived on the island to oversee the work of the Church of God, the church members saw an answer to prayer. Sis. Ratzlaff, although young and inexperienced, accepted the challenge to start the school and become the first principal/teacher.
Leslie & Nina Ratzlaff
The school started with 7 students in the old library, sometimes referred to as the “Upper Room,"the second floor of a small building attached to the National Museum. Those 7 students were Ermyn Merren, Daireen Merren, Edlin Merren, Burke Hunter, Mary Merren Thompson, Winsome Panton Yanes, and Mark Panton. Each student came not only prepared with his/her school supplies but with his/her own handmade desks that dads, uncles and other relatives had made. In 1942, a new teacher, Caroline Glassman arrived, and in 1944 two more teachers, Miss Wilma Ryder (Watler) and Miss Elsie Hehr, joined the staff. The secondary school was started in 1944 to receive students from the elementary school. The Ratzlaffs were assigned to Jamaica in 1944,and Caroline Glassman became the principal and served with distinction for 8 more years. She later married Orrie Merren, the man who had dreamed, prayed, and worked to get the school started.
The American system was adopted due to the close cultural, economic, and social ties with the United States, the proximity of the U.S. to Grand Cayman, and the availability of Christian teachers from the States. Triple C thus became the first school in the Cayman Islands to offer a formal private education, the first to offer secondary education, and the first to be operated on the U.S. system.
The name was chosen by the students in a rather unusual way. The students were asked to write single words on pieces of paper. Each word was to describe some aspect of the school. The first three pieces of paper pulled by Miss Glassman were Creative Christian Character, and thus the school ‘s name abbreviated to Triple C, reflecting the mission and vision of the church, was created.
1st Triple CSchool Building - Breezeway of old chapel
The school outgrew the “Upper Room” and after being split up a few years in various homes, the church constructed Sunday School Rooms and a breezeway, and the school relocated to this facility. The breezeway, where the secondary students had their lessons, consisted of a sand floor with wood part of the way up on three sides. Canvas was attached to this wood and extended to the roof, which was made of corrugated metal. When it rained the water came in the doorways and into the sand floor. Sometimes the students and the teachers had to run into the church building to keep from getting wet. The rain caused crabs to come out of their holes and come into the building and that created a great and enjoyable distraction for the students. The mosquitoes were many and ferocious, so the children brought little smoke pots to school to drive the mosquitoes away.
Graduates of 1947
The first group of students were ready for graduation in 1947 and in December of that year, Virginia Bodden, Georgette Hurlstone Ebanks, Daireen Merren, Ermyn Merren, Mark Panton, Stacey Solomon, and Pansy Thompson had the distinction of being the first graduates of Triple C School. As the school grew the church building was also used for classes. By the early 60’s it was clear that the school needed larger property if it was to continue to grow. In 1963 Rev. Max Hill, who was also principal of the school, found a 3 acre parcel off Hospital Road and the first four rooms were built. Two more were added a few years later and soon it was evident that more buildings were needed. Two classroom blocks and two small buildings were added.
Triple C School - 1969
By the mid 80’s a dream was beginning in the hearts of many that the school needed to relocate to a larger property to meet the needs of a growing and developing Cayman. Marjorie Ebanks, who had joined the staff in 1976 and became its principal in 1978 led the school through the construction of a 55,000 square foot facility on 12 acres in a newly developing area between George Town and South Sound. The building was completed in January 1997. Seven years later, in 2004, it was devastated by Hurricane Ivan, and the school with skeleton staff and 2/3rds of its students carried on at the Family Life Center and the Church of God Chapel on Walker’s Road. The building took a year to restore and returning to the campus in 2005 was a thrill for all. In 2008, after 30 years at the helm, Mrs. Ebanks retired from the principal’s position as the longest serving staff member in the history of the school.
Present School Buidling
Triple C has grown from a staff of one with seven children in a little room to a staff of over 50 in a modern facility and more than 340 students. Thousands of students and scores of teachers have carried on the great legacy of Triple C School. Triple C was born through God’s plan, is maintained through His guidance, and moves forward with the vision through His strength. We give thanks to the Lord for a rich heritage and a bright future!