Russell, Roker among distinguished BTVI Alum

DISTINGUISHED BTVI ALUM – Kenneth Russell (left), former Minister of Housing and National Insurance and Kenton Roker (right), Chair of Construction and Mechanical Trades at BTVI’s Grand Bahama Campus were named among 10 BTVI distinguished alumni. (PHOTOS COURTESY OF BTVI)

Grand Bahama natives, Kenton Roker and Kenneth Russell, were among 10 outstanding alumni of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI), who were recently honored during the second annual RBC Race for the Kids Runway to 5K Awards.

The hybrid event, powered by RBC Royal Bank, recognized BTVI alumni who have reached significant professional achievements and made impactful contributions in their various trade areas, thus bringing great distinction to the institution’s brand. Further, BTVI hoped the awards piqued the interest of prospective students, while motivating those currently enrolled.

It was a magical event, hosted by BTVI's Associate Vice President of Fund Development, Alicia Thompson and 2021 alum, Kadren Carey. The duo, who was in studio, helped to make BTVI's first ever hybrid event come alive with their engaging personalities. They entertained attendees who logged in from throughout The Bahamas, Canada and South Florida!

Receiving the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Practitioner Awards were Kenton Roker and Dr. Dellarese Taylor.

Roker is Chair of Construction and Mechanical Trades at BTVI’s Grand Bahama campus, who has served the institution for the past 18 years; he is also owner of Roker’s Auto.

Kenneth Russell, who studied architecture and carpentry at the institution, received the Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Award. The former Minister of Housing and National Insurance is owner of a construction and building services company, and an architecture firm in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

Additionally, Dr. Taylor, a cosmetologist with over 35 years of experience, who is an adjunct Cosmetology instructor at BTVI in New Providence and owner of Tropical Heat Beauty Salon and Tropical Heat Institute, joined Roker as a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Practitioner Award. She holds the position of President of The Bahamian Cosmetologists and Barbers’ Association.

Joining Russell as a Distinguished Alumni Emerging Leader Awardee were Ismella Davis-Delancy and Christiana Gilbert.

Davis, who studied Hotel Training at the then Industrial Training College, now BTVI, is the first female Assistant Commissioner of Police. At the end of her course, she interned at the then Balmoral Hotel. It was that hotel training which helped to lay a firm foundation of the type of police she became. Meanwhile, Christina Gilbert, a two-time graduate of BTVI, is a licensed Custom Broker and Purchasing Manager and Buyer for the chain of Bahama Subs & Salads restaurants.

Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awardees were veteran cosmetologist, Dr. Zelrona Mackey, who gave 17 years of service to BTVI’s Beauty Trades department; Chartered Certified Accountant, Dr. John S. Bain, who studied Electrical Installation and an Accounts course at BTVI; owner of multiple businesses, including Sinclair’s Rent-A-Tool, Sidney Sinclair and owner of Rolle’s Electric, Bernard Rolle. The award was given posthumously to fashion designer, Percy Wallace, who taught at BTVI’s New Providence campus and was considered among the most talented fashion designers The Bahamas has ever seen, delivering creations that were avant garde.

Additionally, BTVI alum, Kevin Evans (KE Collection) and Kendi Smith (KendiKain) - who is currently a Fashion student - created styles which models confidently sashayed down the runway during the second annual event, which was described as electrifying.

The alumni awards ceremony was the precursor to the virtual RBC Race for the Kids scheduled for the October 16 and 17, 2021 weekend of which the proceeds will benefit BTVI students.

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