Miguel, Joel, Josue, Jerusalen, Debora, and Ana Cruz have many things in common. The six siblings are all motivated, hard-working, and all of them have entrusted their educations and futures to Naugatuck Valley Community College. The Cruz family began to study at NVCC when brothers Miguel and Josue began taking courses at the college around the same time. Miguel, who received an associate degree in accounting and is currently working at NVCC’s Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) as a tutor, has continued his education at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT, where he is currently pursuing a master’s in English. Jerusalen is also at Central pursuing a master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). While at NVCC, she earned a 2015 Presidential Medal of Honor for the work she did as co-president of the hospitality-based Events Management Club and for earning a 4.0 GPA while she helped many of her fellow students. Josue was a Digital Arts Technology (DAT) student at NVCC and since graduation has been working in the local automobile industry. Joel received a manufacturing degree from NVCC and is pursuing a job in the field. Sisters Debora and Ana Cruz are currently both full-time students at the College with Debora majoring in Environmental Science and Ana majoring in Liberal Arts. They are slated to graduate this spring and both hope to continue the family tradition of going on to Central to obtain additional degrees once they graduate.
Debora and Ana are also highly involved in the NVCC community with both being part of the Honors Institute. Just this past December, they presented projects in the fall showcase as part of their Honors Institute coursework. The Honors Institute at NVCC is an academic program that enables students who have demonstrated significant academic achievement to participate in a rigorous course of study in order to advance their knowledge and research skills. Graduates that meet the course work receive an Honors designation on their transcript.
In addition to being in the Honors Institute, Ana is also Vice President for NVCC’s Student Government Association (SGA). The thing she loves most about being an active officer in the SGA? “Meeting the wide variety of people from various backgrounds who attend NVCC,” she says.
Ana hopes to major in history when she continues on to a bachelor’s program, and is specifically interested in studying Asian history. She remembers when her brother Josue was President of the DAT Club and she was only 11 years old and how she would see all of the activities that students were participating in when her family came to pick her brother up at the College.
“Why would you go to a 4-year first when you get so many general courses out of the way at a place that is affordable and close-to-home?” Ana Cruz wonders, and then reflects on her experience so far, “NVCC is a tight-knit community that gives you a great idea of what higher education will be like before going into it head first.”
NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. said, “It is always such a joy to speak to one of the members of the Cruz family. They exemplify hard work, dedication and the firm belief that lives are changed by the power of education. Community college students bring their family members, neighbors and friends to the College. One student brings another, proving themselves to be the best recruiters for our community colleges where the word community is lived honestly and generously every day. We are bridges of opportunity, as the Cruz family understands. I thank them for their trust in us and for being role models for so many.”