Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awardees 2022
Passionate about sewing since she was a young girl, lesha Donnalee Sweeting honed this natural skill by attending summer school where she made clothes for dolls from scraps of fabric given to her by her seamstress. The light bulb was flipped on and she knew that sewing was her gift from God.
Ms. Sweeting later strengthened those skills under the tutelage of Collin Francis who left an indelible mark on her life, encouraging her to, “Make sure the inside of your garment always looks as neat as the outside.”
Ms. Sweeting’s confidence grew more when she enroled in BTVI’s Women’s Apparel Production ll course. She later transitioned from the position of Senior Accounts Clerk at Temple Christian School to a Family and Consumer Science Teacher, teaching Sewing, Art and Family Life to grades 7-12. In fact, in 2012 and 2014, two of her students received the country’s highest grades for the Bahamas General Certification of Secondary Education Clothing Construction examinations.
Ms. Sweeting specializes in sewing women and children’s apparel, school uniforms and dance attire; her work ranges from simple alterations to extravagant ball gowns.
Tawanna Delancy is a proud 1996 graduate of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI). While enroled in the Electronics programme and employed at the country’s national telecommunications company – then known as BaTelCo – Tawanna embraced and mastered her craft.
Over time, she has transitioned from a temporary employee in the Underground Cable Construction Department to the Networking and Engineering, and later Data Communication Departments. In the male-dominated telecommunications field, Tawanna has never ceased to advance herself and is presently BTC’s Technical Manager in the Business to Business (B2B) Service Delivery Department.
She has received several local and regional accolades including BTC’s Most Outstanding Employee of the Quarter, High Achiever Award and the Liberty Latin America Recognition award.
Alexandria Pinder has capitalized on many of her hobbies which include composing music and modeling. She is a proud graduate and Media Technology Top Student in the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute’s Class of 2022.
As an on-air personality on 103.5 The Beat, she is known by many as A.C.E. She also takes on the title of Madam Producer for the ILTV show Freedom March with host Rodney Moncur and Spiritual AdvisorBradley Rolle. Beyond success in media, Alexandria earned the Top Model Worldwide Bahamas title in 2021 and travelled to London to represent The Bahamas. She competed against 27 countries and returned home as Top Model Worldwide International 2021.
Ms. Pinder has also launched several businesses including Ace Point Promotions and Natural Rootz. She is also the official organizer of the Great Bahamas Shootout Pool Tournament, which hosts safe, fun and competitive sporting events in The Bahamas.
Stefanique S. Russell
In January 2017, Stefanique S. Russell enroled in BTVI as a Business Office Technology student.
The skills gained at BTVI included certifications in PowerPoint and Excel. In Fall 2019, Ms. Russell opened her current business S.S.R GraphicsTM, a graphic design company which was inspired by a course she completed with BTVI’s Head of Department for Business, Ms. KerimaSmith. Further, Ms. Sweeting successfully completed her internship in Fall 2020 at the BTVI Testing Center, attaining the Pearson VUE Certified Test Administrator certification in the process. By June 2021, she landed a job at Proficent Business Services Ltd. where she serves asService Desk Manager and Certification Trainer.
Today, Ms. Sweeting has an Associate’s Degree in Business Office Technology and several Microsoft and CompTIA certifications, among others. The 2021 graduate was also inducted into theNational Technical Honor Society during the completion of her studies at the institution.
Jessica Storr-Myers has explored many careers. She has worked as a farm labourer, cook, security officer and office clerk. More recently, she has become a local government representative, the president of a non-profit organization called Andros We Care and an entrepreneur. The proud Androsian is also a member of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute’s (BTVI) Class of 2020 and BTVI’s first Andros graduating class in 2022, receiving an Office Assistant certificate and Associate’s degree in Office Administration respectively.
Ms. Storr-Myers has a selfless desire to serve her community. As such, she is instrumental in Junior Achievement Bahamas, Caribbean Woman in Leadership, BTVI’s Alumni Association, in addition she is on the Andros Community Emergency Response Team, Chairperson of the Nicoll’s Town Township Committee and a Justice of the Peace, among other achievements like being certified in Disaster Risk Reduction and a certified National Youth Leader for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
While successfully running her home-based business called Bre’s Box Takeaway and Catering and working as a Customer Service Representative for a government agency, she is now pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management with hopes to climb the social and economic ladders while continuing to serve others.
Victor ‘JuJu’ Johnson
Victor ‘JuJu’ Johnson has sewn and altered garments for many prominent figures over the years. It was in 1978 when he opened his shop; it remained open until the 13 October 2021. Thirty-plus years of iconic designs, wedding dresses, suits, pants, training, alterations, mentorship and love were all poured from the seams of his modest shop.
From the age of six, Mr. Johnson found himself fascinated with observing and creating drawings. After high school, he enroled into The Bahamas Technical School – now BTVI – to sharpen his natural drawing prowess. However, he did not complete his studies due to a lack of finances required for the books and equipment needed.
After completing six months of training with Ms. Sylvia Crawford, Mr. Johnson earned certifications in International Drafting Techniques and Creative Arts. Subsequently, he was hired by Ms. Crawford as an Assistant Designer, sewing lingerie and under her watchful supervision, made all of the jackets and skirts for Eastern Airlines.
His tailoring journey began when he went to work for Mr. Hazely Newton, also known as ‘Boogs’. Mr. Newton invested in Mr. Johnson by sending him to New York to attend the Institute of Technology for three months, during which time he obtained a certification in Tailoring Designs.
Further, Mr. Johnson officially started designing Junkanoo costumes in 1986. He worked privately for individuals from the various Junkanoo groups, sometimes sewing the blackout or crochet bag skirts for an entire group’s brass line. He was even responsible for sewing Saxons’ leader, Percy “Vola” Francis’ signature outfits which included the cape we have come to expect him to wear. Mr. Johnson had a love affair with the cultural art form of Junkanoo and his costumes graced the stages of the Miss Bahamas Pageant, with one costume winning in 2013 with several designs in the runner-up category.
Victor ‘JuJu’ Johnson made waves from behind his machine. He was truly a designer extraordinaire!
Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Awardees 2022
Ralph Burrows began his career in the construction industry as a labourer. From 2008 to 2011, he was a Junior Carpenter for a company of which his duties consisted of constructing heavy duty building forms for Scotia Bank on the Baha Mar Blvd and working along with the Layout and Senior Project Manager. Little did he know that right across the street would be a world-famous resort where he would eventually rise as a respected manager.
It was 2011 when Mr. Burrows became a part of a programme at BTVI sponsored by Baha Mar. Heobtained a Certificate of Outstanding Performance in Carpentry and became Occupational Safety and Health Administration certified, Construction Safety certified among other training.
Mr. Burrows went on the Baha Mar site as a labourer, but he eventually went on to hold positions at the mega resort such as Field Coordinator & Project Coordinator and eventually, Project Manager. He was known to coordinate construction site teams to discover the best and fastest solutions when challenges arose at the resort.
Today, Mr. Burrows is the Environmental/Health & Safety Manager at Arawak Port Development. Overall, he is an experienced Field Operations, Environmental, Construction, Health and Safety Manager. He is skilled in Heavy Equipment, Team Building, Environmental Awareness, Project Engineering and Construction Safety. He is also the proud owner of Anchor Forestry and Green Waste Management Solutions, with his latest business venture being Sanitize Air.
Terez Tiffany Rolle
Dr. Terez Tiffany Rolle, who is known as ‘Tiffany’ in the beauty industry, began her path tocosmetology during high school. Upon graduation, she enroled in the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) while it was the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) and graduated top of her class in 1992. Not long after this accomplishment, she was hired as a Junior Stylist and later continued her training internationally in Los Angeles, San Francisco, North Carolina and Chicago to master the arts of haircutting, styling and hair colouring.
As Dr. Rolle’s desire to gain more knowledge about the industry grew, she went on to achieve a doctorate degree in Arts in Beauty Culture Science and became certified to professionally share her passion. Dr. Rolle started a mentorship programme at the salon she shares with her husband – Style Unisex Salon – is a BTVI instructor and sits as a board member for the Bahamian Cosmetology and Barbers Association. She also assisted in crafting policies for the reopening of the country’s beauty industry during the COVID-19 pandemic through the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ Infection Prevention and Control Beauty Industry certificate.
As a Design Essentials educator for The Bahamas, Dr. Rolle has additionally worked as a Lowe’s Wholesale Drug Agency’s professional haircare technician, where she was a platform artist and educator for other leading brands such as Clairol Professional and Luster Products.
Rodline St. Fleur
For Rodline St. Fleur, acceptance into the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) was a rainbow of hope after a rainstorm of hardship in many aspects of life. With the support of BTVI instructors Ms. Kerima Smith, Ms. Gia Gibson, Mr. Stanley Gordon and the late, Ms. Ann Knowles, she juggled the responsibility of working a full-time job, attending college and raising her young son while pregnant with her daughter.
After graduating from BTVI in 2016, Ms. St. Fleur transitioned from working at a local gas station to utilizing knowledge gained in her programme of study at an office job for roughly two years. Outside of work hours she built a brand reflecting her talent in hair braiding. Ms. St. Fleur’s success in braiding hair from the laundry room of her home led her to resign from traditional office work and open her very own salon in 2017.
Strong faith and love from family propelled Ms. St. Fleur as a self-taught beautician. With new ventures on the horizon, she is the proud owner of Nails by Roddi and Studio Fleur, formerly known as Magic Hair.
Distinguished Alumni Scholar Practitioner Awardees 2022
Dr. Denise Michelle Hanna
From Shampoo Assistant to Lead Stylist, to the owner of her own beauty salon with a Doctorate Degree in Cosmetology, Denise Michelle Hanna is a woman of excellence.
It was 1989 when Dr. Hanna enroled into the then Industrial Training College – now BTVI – graduating with her Diploma. Shortly afterwards, she became a Shampoo Assistant in a local salon. Her instructor, Dr. Gwendolyn Rolle, saw potential in her and gave her a job opportunity at Gwen’s New Image.
Dr. Hanna learned to perform other services such as waxing, nail technology, barbering, etc. As a result of her exceptional skills, she became Head Stylist at Gwen’s, followed by Head Stylist at Ivoine’s Beauty Salon.
Dr. Hanna went on to further her studies at Dudley’s Advance School of Cosmetology in North Carolina, where she received her Advance Training Certificate. Her Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in Cosmetology are from The National Institute of Cosmetology and Beauty Culture League Incorporated in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Hanna has been a Cosmetology instructor at BTVI for the past 10 years, creatively pouring into students her knowledge and skills obtained over the past 30 plus years. She has even transitioned into a Dual Therapist, becoming a Barber instructor as well at BTVI. She also received her Certification in Adult Workforce Education & Program Planning from Nova Southwest University. In 2022, she became a Ministry of Health Infection Prevention and Control Trainer – training other salon owners on Sanitation, Sterilization and Infectious Disease Control in their salons.