From Circuit Boards in High School to a Full Scholarship at RRC Polytech

The Schroeder Foundation Removes the Financial Burden for Winnipeg Student

Fili Domingo loved his high school electronics course – one where he made circuit boards and put them together to create a machine. He liked to assemble things and loved the world of electronics, but he didn’t know how to make that passion a reality.

“I only knew about this program [Electrical Engineering Technology] because a friend told me about it,” says Fili. “He was planning to take it as well, and I looked into it, and I knew it was what I wanted to do.”

He had a clear goal in his mind, but unfortunately wasn’t sure how he would be able pay for the program.

“I applied for scholarships through a general form at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate and the next thing I know I got a call for the Schroeder Foundation scholarship,” said Fili.

The Schroeder Foundation has a partnership with RRC Polytech and has provided over 135 high school students with full scholarships to RRC Polytech as well as additional funding for textbooks and supplies. For Fili, this meant three years of tuition, books, and other related mandatory academic program fees.

Walter and Maria Schroeder, founders of The Schroeder Foundation, grew up in Winnipeg and have dedicated themselves to helping others. After they sold their company, one of the world’s premier bond rating agencies, the Schroeder’s focused their energy on philanthropy. They devoted their resources on improving health and education services across Canada with a particular interest in supporting Winnipeg’s high school students in the North End.

He had never heard of the Schroeders or what the scholarship included, but once he did, he was speechless.

“What? Huh? You’re covering that big an expense for this many students? I was truly speechless for the next 10 minutes,” said Fili when he heard that he was one of the recipients.

Beyond financial support, recipients of the Schroeder Foundation scholarships with wrap-around supports like additional tutoring, mentorship, and guidance. The Foundation also provides an academic coach who checks in with the students and their families and support networks to make sure they are transitioning well into college life and provides them with resources to make sure they can focus on their academic goals. Each cohort of students is part of an in-person Transition to College Program where they visit and become familiar with the campuses, learn about college services, and can connect with their peers.   

“I remember coming into this program and I told myself ‘I can do everything solo,’ and I’m going to be the guy who goes home and studies for hours,” says Fili.

But this mindset lasted two weeks. Like his entire academic career, nothing was done without the support of others. Fili said he wanted to understand more, so he reached out to classmates and teachers, and everything started going uphill.   

“I learned that opening up takes you so far,” says Fili. He’s now helping to guide the next generation of Schroeder recipients by passing along tips, experiences and offering advice as they enter the College.

Fili is in his final four months of his program after completing a paid co-op at Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing (TACAM) last summer where he said he valued everything he learned from his older experienced colleagues who were able to pass on so much information.

From not knowing how to pursue his passion after high school to passing advice on to the next generation, Fili recognized how important community is in being successful and is so grateful to Walter and Maria Schroder for leaving him speechless that day.

“My number one goal is to get a job in my field,” said Fili. He also hopes to become a mentor, showing other students how their dreams are possible, additionally he plans on pursuing further  education in the field he is passionate about to continue his journey.

In 2022, the Schroeder Foundation donated $300,000 towards supporting the fifth cohort of scholarship recipients to attend RRC Polytech.

This article originally appeared on RRC Polytech.


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