Prep Talk

A Journey of Brotherhood and Empowerment: Manny Aponte ’23, Wall Street, and the DIME Program

Posted August 1st, 2023

By Manny Dijamco ’99

At St. Augustine Prep, Manny Aponte’s passion for finance was met with an incredible opportunity – the Diversity Investment Management Engagement program. Introduced to the program by Josean Fernandez ’02, a seasoned and successful Wall Street veteran and St. Augustine Prep alumnus, Manny’s curiosity was piqued by the promise of an enriching finance education and networking prospects.

Over four semesters, Manny dove headfirst into the world of finance. Guided by knowledgeable instructors and industry experts, he explored the intricacies of financial markets, investment strategies, and wealth management. The program’s immersive curriculum expanded Manny’s horizons and solidified his aspirations to pursue a career in finance.

One of the most valuable aspects of the DIME program experience was the opportunity to forge meaningful connections. Manny not only bonded with fellow high school students from different corners of the country but he also interacted with professionals and companies from the financial industry. These connections have served to open doors to potential internships, mentorship opportunities, and invaluable pathways to a potentially lucrative and fulfilling career in finance.  To further solidify the impact of the program, students were surprised with a $1,000 scholarship to be placed toward their college education.  

While his experience was predicated upon getting down to business, the program made sure to expose its students to some of the many enjoyable aspects of the industry.  What arguably was the highlight of Manny’s DIME journey was an unforgettable all-expenses-paid trip to New York City that included an appearance on CNBC. Joined by his classmates, Manny had three transformative days of meetings with four wealth advisory firms. This exposure to real-world financial operations left an indelible mark on his understanding of the industry and gave him a glimpse into what the future may hold for him.  The pinnacle of Manny’s New York trip was a moment he may never forget – ringing the opening bell at the NASDAQ MarketSite. This iconic event, televised on CNBC, symbolized not only Manny’s achievement but also the program’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion within the financial world.

At the heart of Manny’s transformative journey with the DIME program was the bond of the Hermit Brotherhood. Manny’s opportunity with the program was a direct result of Josean Fernandez looking to give back to his beloved alma mater.  Josean, a 2002 graduate and Wall Street veteran, was the driving force behind the program’s introduction to St. Augustine Prep. Josean’s illustrious career on Wall Street, dedication to diversity and inclusion as a Latino in the finance industry, and his subsequent position on the DIME program’s Board of Directors set a powerful example for Manny and his peers.  Josean speaks fondly of his time at the Prep and credits the values instilled in him in Richland as the foundation of his success both personally and professionally.  It is clear, through his involvement with the continued rise of the DIME program, that the spirit of Caritas and service to the community continues to drive him as a proud Hermit alumnus.

Manny Aponte’s experience with the Diversity Investment Management Engagement program was nothing short of transformative. Through four semesters of finance education, networking with industry professionals, and an unforgettable trip to Wall Street, Manny’s passion for finance blossomed into a promising career path. The DIME program’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion further enriched his journey, showing Manny the immense potential for his future in the financial industry. With his sights set high and inspired by the legacy of his fellow Hermit Brother Josean Fernandez ’02, Manny carries the torch of inclusion, empowerment, and brotherhood – ready to make his mark on Wall Street and beyond.


Manny Aponte ’23 is set to attend Washington College this fall to study Finance and Business Management with his eyes set on investment banking and financial planning.  A varsity member of the vaunted Hermits Baseball program, Manny will also be continuing his career on the collegiate diamond for the Washington College ShoremenJosean Fernandez ’02, also a Hermits Baseball alumnus, currently works as Vice President, Director of National Accounts for Ariel Investments.  Josean also competed at the collegiate level as a catcher for Bloomfield College while working toward his future in the financial industry.

Both Manny and Josean’s achievements, diligence, and determination in their post-Richland journey are examples of life as a Hermit Brother entering a new chapter as an alumnus. The school is blessed to have alumni who continue to represent the Prep with the same pride and vigor they held as students. They are part of a distinguished list of Hermits Alumni who have earned distinctions in academics, military service, education, athletics, medicine, business, and a variety of industries.

Do you know a young man who is ready to become a “Man of Character” and follow in Manny and Josean’s footsteps by attending the premier all-boys high school in New Jersey? Help share the St. Augustine Experience by encouraging prospective students and families to begin the admissions process at the Prep by visiting or contacting today!