A Different Kind of Learning Day

Friday, March 4, 2011

On February 11, more than 1,000 Valencia employees gathered under one roof – the UCF Arena – for a rare convocation we call Learning Day. Attendees heard from three remarkable alumni about their lives – lives that were shaped in part by Valencia.

They came to share their inspirational stories and to thank Valencia for having played such an important role in their success. It isn’t often that we gather the entire Valencia family to learn and serve together. It was a real treat to see these graduates again and to connect their narrative to our core mission.

Francis Angibeaud Montjen was a typical community college student, which is to say he didn’t fit in anybody’s box. He’s a native of Cameroon, West Africa, who earned a degree from Valencia in 2002. He later moved to the United Kingdom, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southampton. He hasn’t stopped there as he is currently working on a master’s degree in finance and banking at Queen Mary University in London.

Abeer Beshir Abdalla, a 2005 Valencia grad – also named that year’s distinguished graduate – works as a writer and a communications specialist in Washington, D.C. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCF. A master storyteller, she spoke with passion of the value of learning and serving others.

Eddie Ruiz is the principal of Jackson Middle School, the same place he once attended as a teenager. Ruiz received his A.A. degree from Valencia in 1999 and went on to UCF where he is currently pursuing his doctoral degree. He was a finalist for Orange County Teacher of the Year in 2006.

All three of them demonstrate the power of an opportunity. Each seized theirs and are making a difference. I invite you to watch the video where they share what Valencia has meant to them.

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