WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Westchester County man who had great success on Wall Street says it’s the best investment he’s ever made — steering several million dollars to students from struggling families.
He’s helped almost 300 grads pay for college. On Tuesday, the program reached a landmark, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
It has been 20 years of proud parents and grateful high school grads, their hard work rewarded with a helping hand — a $12,000 grant for college expenses.
“When I found out, I was jumping for joy and my parents were crying because now I’m able to pay for college now without them having to worry,” White Plains High School student Yaqueline Flores said.
Flores is planning a business career. Classmate Carolyn Ramos wants to be an astronomer.
“There is a beauty in realizing that we are part of something so vast as the universe is,” Ramos said.
Their dreams are closer to coming true, thanks to Don Cecil and his family.
“Any manner, shape or form, if you’re fortunate enough to be able to help is what everybody in America should be doing,” Cecil said.
Cecil did well on Wall Street and now is doing good for the youth of Westchester. He and his late wife, Jane, started the Jandon Scholars program in 1999. Their foundation has helped almost 300 students from struggling backgrounds pay college expenses. It also hosts an annual pool party for scholars to foster fellowship and mentoring.
“I have a letter from one of our early students that says if not for you I’d be in jail, or dead. You can’t measure what that means,” Cecil said.
But you can take stock of what his example has shown students like Ramos and Flores.
“It definitely shows a lot about being selfless and the importance of helping others,” Ramos said.
“It reminds me that one day I want to give back, because I know someone will be in the same place I am,” Flores added.
At age 92, Cecil is still investing in the future.
Over two decades, more than 90 percent of Jandon Scholars have gone on to earn their degrees.