Nassau, The Bahamas – “When I think of Ms. Knowles, I think about the SAC spirit which is full of determination, dedication, discipline, sacrifice and hard work imbued with a spirit of excellence,” explained Oaktree Center’s Medical Director Dr. Don D. Deveaux, a proud 2002 alumnus of St. Augustine’s College.
Recently, he and his wife, Chief Executive Officer of Oaktree Medical Center Mrs. Kristi Deveaux, 01’ also a SAC alumna, returned to their alma mater for a two-fold purpose - to inspire and empower the next generation and donate $15,000 to the Red-Line Athletics Track Club in honour of beloved SAC Principal Ms. Sonja Knowles.
“When we saw Sonja Knowles' name attached to the Red-Line Athletics Track Club event, we knew that we had to pay homage to Ms. Knowles. She is someone who has dedicated her entire adult life to St. Augustine’s College. We also say thank you to Mr. Moss for the work he is doing through Red-Line. At Oaktree, we are focused on building community and this track club embodies the principals we believe in as we invest in young adults through the sporting discipline. Continue the good work,” expressed Dr. Deveaux.
Dr. Don D. Deveaux and Mrs. Kristi Deveaux donated $15,000 to the Red-Line Athletics Track Club in honour of beloved SAC Principal Ms. Sonja Knowles. From left –Mr. Tito Moss; Mrs. Nekera Moss; Ms. Sonja Knowles; Mrs. Kristi Deveaux and Dr. Don D. Deveaux.
As a 1970 graduate of St. Augustine’s College, Principal Knowles is known for her passionate, supportive, energetic, firm yet kind leadership style. She is loved and respected by the scores of students under her care for more than four decades.
Tito Moss, SAC '92 graduate is the founder of the Red-Line Track Club and former standout track and field athlete and long standing track coach at St. Augustine’s from 2004, Assistant Coach with Club Monica Athletics in 2010, Assistant Head Coach of the CAC Age Group National Championship in 2015 and Assistant Head Coach of the NACAC-U18/U23 Championship National Team in 2019.
At the check presentation, joined by his and his wife Mrs. Nekeva Moss, he accepted the $15,000 title sponsorship donation from Dr. and Mrs. Deveaux in honour of the second annual Sonja Knowles Red-Line Track Classic which was widely supported by the community.
“I want to thank Ms. Knowles for all her hard work, all the years of mentoring young people, thanks for being our role model, our Principal, our motivator, cheerleader and disciplinarian all these years. I truly appreciate all you have done for me and my family. We are so grateful for Dr. Deveaux, Mrs. Deveaux and the Oaktree Medical Center team and for your support for us and I am happy to announce that going forward in perpetuity, this meet will be named the Sonja Knowles Track Classic hosted by RedLine, as we want to continue to have her name associated with greatness,” expressed Moss.
Dr. Deveaux shared his educational journey with grade seven students at his alma mater St. Augustine’s College.
Mrs. Kristi Deveaux shared her journey while at St. Augustine’s College as an active member of several athletic clubs and reminded the students to remain grateful.
In addition to the donation, the Deveaux’s spent time with the seventh-grade class and Dr. Deveaux recanted his time walking the halls of St. Augustine’s. He candidly shared his failures, challenges and setbacks along the way which paved the way for his successful future in the medical field and as a community builder.
Dr. Deveaux did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth, growing up in a single parent home, his mother did the best she could to provide for him and his five siblings. He had a troubled start having been expelled from school, transferred to St. Augustine’s College and repeating the 8th grade, due to lack of finances he was often removed from school and relied on his best friend Karlos Mackey, a SAC 02’ alumnus to provide notes and updates from class.
“My wife showed me a post on Facebook which showed the word ‘Depression’ and back there was a lot to be depressed about, there was so much despair but, in that word, it actually spells out the phrase ‘I Pressed On’. Through the support of kind people like Sister Noella, she pushed for me to receive a scholarship in Grade 10 and as a result, I was able to pass the year and move on to Grade 11, everyone was surprised, even me. The support from the SAC community, my friends and family got me through. I’ve learned so much from St. Augustine’s College, from Ms. Knowles, from Mr. Dorsett and many others and I am deeply appreciative.
Mrs. Deaveaux expressed her gratitude for the sacrifices of the teachers and staff at SAC and the importance of remaining grateful.
“The values I learned at SAC are pillars I have carried out in my adult life. I appreciate everything that happened here, as I was on many sports teams’ volleyball, track, swimming, basketball so I learned a lot about discipline, determination, and teamwork. Many of the things we implement at Oaktree are focused on service, stem from being here at this institution. We are grateful to be back home, so please do not take for granted the opportunity to be here and always remain grateful,” said Mrs. Deveaux.
Mr. Karlos Mackey lauded his best friend Dr. Deveaux and encouraged students to remain focused
Red-Line Athletics Track Club members, Ms. Sonja Knowles and Dr. Don D. Deveaux and Mrs. Deveaux.
Accompanied by his best friend and classmate Mr. Mackey, he admonished the students to be careful of the company they keep and to remain focused on their studies to accomplish the goals they set forth.
“I’ve had the privilege to work for very large Big Four accounting firms as a CPA in the U.S., even with opportunity to work in New York with Wall Street clients, and I can tell you there is no day that I do not have an appreciation for the experiences I would have gone through at St. Augustine’s College. While in school, decide now to make the right choice and who you are going to be. You may be looking around and some of your friends seem to be floating through life and it is just easy for them, and you have a chip on your shoulder because it seems easy for them. I want to encourage you to remember like Dr. Deveaux says, ‘life is what you make it’. Our friendship has developed right here at St. Augustine’s and we support each other. That is why no matter where I am, when he calls, I am there and this is because of the values and the friendship we built here at SAC,” explains Mackey.
As the Medical Director of Oaktree Medical Center specializing in Internal Medicine and subspecialty in Nephrology, in closing Dr. Deveaux implored the teachers and students to press on together and not give up.
“Teachers, I stand here today to say I am the reason you do not give up on students and students I am the reason you don’t give up on yourself. Through God all things are possible. The world is what you make of you, you have the opportunity to carry on SAC’s great legacy of almost 75 plus years,” said Dr. Deveaux.
Oaktree Medical Center (OMC), a world-class medical facility provides high quality, holistic, patient-centred, affordable medical services in a safe, caring environment. They provide customized care to meet the needs of each patient and health condition. OMC is focused on family values and its doors are open to serve the community.
Defence Headquarters, 25 NOV. ‘21 (RBDF): Members of the Oaktree Medical Center recently paid a visit to the Commander Defence Force, Commodore Dr. Raymond King, where they presented a monetary donation of $15,000 to assist RBDF Veterans on November 24th, 2021 at Defence Headquarters, John F. Kennedy Drive. As the organization continues to enforce the Commander Defence Force, Commodore Raymond King’s strategic objective of strengthening and improving the lives of the Veterans and Retirees, the donation was well received by the RBDF Veteran’s Affairs Office and the RBDF Veteran’s Association (RBDFVA).
Dr. Don Deveaux, Medical Director at Oaktree Medical in his brief remarks shared why he returned home and what he shared in common with the Defence Force. Stating how immediately upon completion of his fellowship training he returned home eager to serve. He relates to the Defence Force stating “There are a lot of similarities [we share], hardworking, disciplined, service and love of country. This is why I came back home.” He went on to express the importance of the donation.
“When I think of community, I want community to be synonymous with Oaktree Medical Center…So this is just a small token of appreciation from a son of the soil saying we appreciate you guys. It’s not about the finances, it’s actually about relationship building, community building and making a better Bahamas.”
The RBDF Veterans Affairs Officer, Lieutenant Commander Judy McDonald, and President of the Veterans Association, Chief Petty Officer (Retired) Harold Bosfield, whose offices work in tandem, both took a moment to express their deep appreciation for the donation made which will benefit the veterans.
Commodore King, who received the donation, spoke briefly and expressed why a dedicated section for Defence Force veterans was necessary.
“Some of the veterans were facing challenges. It was critical that we established a Veterans Affairs Office. There are some initiatives that we are looking at from an organizational perspective, some proposals have been put through to the government to make things a lot better for them.”
He implied that the work that the Defence Force accomplishes today will be beneficial for all the members in the future and stressed the importance of establishing systems and mechanisms for the smooth transition of all members to becoming veterans and retirees.
Also in attendance was the Human Resources Director at the Oaktree Medical Center, Mrs. Elizabeth Longley, RBDF Welfare and Morale Officer, Senior Lieutenant Elvis Bullard, and Mrs. Prenell Henfield, Secretary for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Veterans Association.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force remains committed to strengthening relationships with stakeholders and the community at large while “Guarding our Heritage”
Photos and press release credit: The Royal Bahamas Defence Force https://www.facebook.com/RBDFMIL