Wednesday, September 19, 2018

D’Aguilar Scholarship Students Thank Donors

 Twelve of the 15 students afforded the Vincent D’Aguilar Memorial Scholarship recently got to meet Saskia D’Aguilar, who represented the family. The students are benefactors of the D’Aguliars’ $150,000 donation to be dispersed over a three-year-period. In front from left to right are: BTVI’s Associate Vice President of Fund Development, Alicia Thompson; Nadia Moss, Dellrene Thompson, Brianna Smith, BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson; Saskia D'Aguilar, Florazel Russell, Bernadette Swann, Mark Merus and Errol Haughton. In the back from left to right are: Kierhon Bain, Cordero Walker, Vantorn Farrington, Ulysses Rolle Jr. and Patricia Haughton.
Photo: BTVI

Daughter-in-law of the late respected businessman, electrical engineer and philanthropist, Vincent D’Aguilar, recently met with recipients of the scholarship in his name, who are benefitting from a $150,000 commitment to The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI).

On behalf of the family, Saskia D’Aguilar said it was a pleasure to meet in person the students who will benefit from the Vincent D’Aguilar Memorial Scholarship.

“It's an honor for me to meet the scholarship recipients and hear the personal stories behind their dreams.  I know my late father in law is smiling from above, knowing that these incredible individuals will reap the benefits of quality education funded by our family, with his name proudly attached to the grants.  As we all agree, ‘Forward, Upward, Onward, Together.’ That is how we will improve the lives of Bahamians and ensure the long term success of our economy,” said Ms. D’Aguilar.

At BTVI’s May 2018 graduation, the institution received the single largest private donation in its history through the establishment of the Vincent D’Aguilar Memorial Scholarship. The late Mr. D’Aguilar’s wife, F. Marina D’Aguilar made the presentation along with her sons, Minister of Tourism, the Honourable, Dionisio D’Aguilar and Dayne, with their respective wives, Saskia and Linda.  Mr. D’Aguilar’s family’s generous donation to BTVI is pegged at $50,000 per year for the first three years. During this first year, funding has been provided to 15 students with significant financial aid for tuition and books in diverse areas of study.  Recipients were considered on the basis of need and merit in all age groups.

Ms. D’Aguilar recalled her late father-in-law being a kind and generous man who loved The Bahamas and its people.

“He valued the hard work of the men and women he hired to work alongside him in his business ventures, and constantly sought to create opportunities for them to improve their skills and knowledge.

We are now taking this a few steps further, by giving passionate Bahamians a chance to advance in their chosen professions, by taking courses at BTVI,” she said.

Saskia D’Aguilar, daughter-in-law of the late Vincent D’Aguilar, gets up close and personal with a few recipients of the Vincent D’Aguilar Memorial Scholarship, named in honour of her late father-in-law.
Photo: BTVI

Recipient, Cordero Walker, who is studying towards a certificate in Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), expressed how ecstatic he is to have landed the scholarship.

“It was unbelievable, it was life changing. It was an out of this world experience. I did not know what to do. Happy can't explain how I felt. I finally achieved some success in my life. I finally have a chance to prove myself again. I finally have a chance to get back at education and get to another level,” said Cordero.

The 30-year-old said the D’Aguilars’ financial backing came at an opportune time for him. 

“Working and paying bills and trying to balance life and its finances were kind of difficult. The scholarship really took 95% of the burden off me. It really saved me a lot of time, effort, money, back and forth, up and down, late fees, disappointments, humiliation and lack of confidence. I am confident now. It saved me a lot of headache. I don't have to ask anybody for anything anymore; it took a heavy burden off my shoulder,” he emphasized.

Cordero went on to express gratitude to the D’Aguilars for their selflessness.

“I thank them for their conscious heart and for giving less fortunate persons an opportunity for independence. They are thinking about the wider society. I am matured but I got a second chance. I am part time and they still gave me a chance. I can now get something that is my own. I can set my own rate and work for myself. I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. I hope to make them proud and not to fail them. I want to show that they did not make the wrong decision by giving me this opportunity and a new life again,” he said.
Meanwhile, Esthetics student, Bernadette Swann said she was overwhelmed upon receiving the news that she was chosen for the scholarship.

“I felt weak in the knees. I was simply elated. I couldn't stop thanking God for his amazing grace that he had bestowed upon me through the D’Aguilars.  It is through persons like this family who make sacrifices and necessary contributions to society that makes a country great,” said the 48-year-old.
Bernadette said she is now a step closer to her goal of becoming a day spa owner.

“Having been awarded this scholarship has not only helped me financially but also strengthened my belief in myself. The D'Aguilar family has certainly set the standard for private organizations to follow in terms of giving back to the community,” she added.

That sentiment was echoed by BTVI’s Associate Vice President of Fund Development, Alicia Thompson.

“We are grateful that the D'Aguilars have remained resolute in their commitment to partner with BTVI as we seek to fulfill our mission to provide learning opportunities for so many. We trust that this philanthropic act will spur a chain reaction and result in many more individuals and companies stepping forward to invest in the people and programs here at the school. Mr. Vincent D'Aguilar was a great Bahamian who impacted this country during his lifetime and even now he is making his mark.

Thank you to the D'Aguilars,” said Ms. Thompson.