By Shantique Longley
A partnership that began two years ago continues to strengthen, as two young men have become the first recipients of The Idris George Reid Scholarship to attend The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), presented by Lodge Claudius R. Walker.
Geno Mackey and Renaldo Fils were desirous of obtaining training in the technical field and have now been awarded the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Mackey is a 2016 graduate of C. R. Walker High School, who participated in the lodge’s mentorship program while in high school and will be completing an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Electronics Engineering Installers & Repairers. Meanwhile, Fils will be completing a certificate program in Electrical Installation.
BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson, thanked the lodge for providing opportunities for these young men to realize their potential and fulfill their dreams.
“Lodge Claudius R. Walker understands the necessity and almost urgency of mentoring young males in The Bahamas. Truly, they are making a difference in the lives of the recipients through the mentorship component, which is commendable,” said Dr. Robertson.
Right Worshipful Master, Brother Willie Simmons, indicated that four years into the formation of the lodge, it was determined that it would be an educational and institutional one. He stated that the lodge established the mentorship component of the scholarship to help “make a dent in the community by donating to the young men who did not have.”
For Mackey, receiving this scholarship is a reminder of words reiterated by his father: “Where there is unity there is victory.”
“I am here today, on God’s will, to reassure that this opportunity will be taken, accepted and greatly appreciated… this is just another big step taken for me that will impact my life in many ways just as joining this lodge in my C. R. Walker (High School) days and being mentored by Mr. Luther Smith,” he said.
For Fils, being awarded this scholarship lightens the burden of his goal to become an established electrical engineer. “… My path to this glorified destination has in fact been made a little easier through this blessing - that is being awarded the Idris George Reid Scholarship Award here at this outstanding institute,” said Fils.
Additionally, Depute Master, Brother Idris George Reid, expressed his confidence in the young men’s ability to successfully complete their programs, stating that he hopes to see them grow into the leaders they have the potential to be.
This was reiterated by Right Worshipful District Grand Master, Brother Joseph Curry, whose hope is that the scholarship recipients develop the confidence they need to become law abiding productive citizens.
“The Lodge determined that it is not only important to mentor young men, but to invest in them by doing something more tangible and measurable… we will help them to be more productive, engaged and less distracted,” said Brother Curry.
The lodge brethren and Dr. Robertson have committed to following the progress of the young men, assisting them to maintain at least a 2.75 GPA, as required for the scholarship. The recipients are also expected to perform a minimum of 20 hours community service per year while completing their programs at BTVI.
BTVI’s Associate Vice President of Fund Development, Alicia Thompson, encouraged the recipients to embrace and make the most of this golden opportunity.
There have been three previous recipients of this scholarship - one who has already graduated and is now gainfully employed at Kerzner International.