Tuesday, February 15, 2022
By Jennifer Keefe
As we all know, Valencia College prides itself in finding top-notch talent to help the sometimes impossible become possible for our students.
But for Makendy Jacob, student services advisor for the Downtown Campus, life is all about using his skills to create that kind of magic, both on and off campus.
A highly-trained acrobat and stilt walker, Makendy performed in parades and shows for more than 15 years at the Orlando-area theme parks.
When a conditioning issue got the better of him, Makendy decided to return to one of his first true loves.
“Realizing that life’s way too precious and way too short to not live my purpose fully,” he explains, “I went back training my voice as an opera singer to prepare for intimate concerts and recitals to bless others in songs and to honor the one who has blessed me with this wonderful gift.”
Makendy has a little bit of a history on stage.
He’s played several opera roles with the Florida International University Opera Theatre.
As a soloist, he performed the National Anthem at Valencia College September 11 Memorial events on West and Osceola Campuses and collaborated with various high-level artists from classical guitarist and Professor of Music Troy Gifford to soprano Shannon Jennings.
He has also performed with the Orlando Opera Theatre choir, the Florida Grand Opera choir and Opera Orlando.
Additionally, Makendy has played a few roles on television. He was the voice of Jesus in a film about the life of Christ that aired in Haiti and cohosted Tele-Creole, a Haitian television talk show.
And with those chiseled features, you guessed it, Makendy is also a model. He’s walked the runway, been in some print ads and worked a few trade shows.
As you can imagine, with a full-time job and all these outside interests, he doesn’t have a lot of free time.
“The little free time I get,” he says, “I use it to visit my grandma, the love of my life, and to take long walks in nature to be alone with my thoughts in a spiritual way to fine balance and peace.”
Then, there’s Makendy’s starring role at the College, something he is very proud of.
“I have a legacy building role at Valencia College as a student services advisor,” he explains.
“Five days a week, I am blessed with the opportunity to change lives through education, supporting prospective, returning and current students,” he adds.
Makendy really understands the impact his work is having on the Downtown Orlando community.
“Knowing that the work that I do, at the end, can lift students out of poverty is one of the things I am most proud of, he explains.
He credits his supervisor, Edna Jones Miller, dean of students at the Downtown Campus, with showing him how to become a true professional.
Edna calls Makendy a “phenomenal asset to Valencia College.”
She explains, “Makendy has mastered his unique role of serving both Valencia and UCF students.”
“His leadership and positive attitude have not only served our students and staff well but have helped to strengthen our partnership with UCF in the joint First Stop (Answer Center) department,” Edna adds.
Makendy has a few things he really likes about working at the College.
“I very much like how Valencia College takes care of its own, students and employees,” he explains.
“I am inspired by the fact that Valencia always has my back,” he adds. “And as a front-line employee, I make sure to tell students every day that the College has their backs too.”
Makendy should know a lot about the support the College gives employees and students.
That’s because he’s also a Valencia grad. After finishing his associate degree, Makendy went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Florida International University.
This fall, he expects to finish Valencia’s Bachelor of Applied Science in business and organizational leadership (BASBOL) as well.
Makendy sees Valencia as a partner the community can count on.
Students and prospective students have been able to count on him as both an enrollment services advisor and student services advisor since 2009.
If you’re interested in knowing more about Makendy’s music, you can find a songbook he published in 2018 on Amazon.
The book, International Songs of Worship and Praise: #AllelouiaInEveryLanguage, is a collection of praise and worship music in French, Haitian-Creole, Spanish and English. Proceeds from the book help less fortunate children in Haiti.
Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for at least one year? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.