"The personalized attention and one on one teaching imparted by the instructors at HCC is second to none."

— John Sciabbarrasi, 1991 HCC Grad, AA Liberal Arts

I graduated high school in 1978, went to the University of Houston, knew no one, and ultimately returned home to Clearwater. Prior to attending HCC, I played semi-pro baseball for five years and worked in the hotel and restaurant business until one day, I decided I wanted a different life for myself and I accepted Jesus Christ in my life in 1987. A few years later, something in my brain clicked about nine seconds after I hit 30 and said "Go back to school". My biggest hurdle was returning to school after being out for 10 years. I had bills to pay, was working full time and it was hard. I enrolled in HCC, gave it all I had, and ultimately earned my AA degree in 1991. While I was there, I took some accelerated classes at Mac Dill AFB Campus. I noticed early on people were not taking these classes seriously. The accelerated classes at Mac Dill were challenging but rewarding. We would do an entire semester in only 4 meetings! After graduating from HCC I went on to become a Florida Licensed Mortgage Broker. Without a doubt, HCC gave me the confidence to pass the state board exams in Florida.

I chose HCC because of its excellent reputation, affordability coupled with the willingness of the head baseball coach, Gary Calhoun, to hire me as an assistant while I was enrolled at HCC. I am forever thankful for his support. At HCC, I was very motivated to make straight A's to set an example to my players with whom I attended class. I laugh now, but I was almost catatonic when I received my lone "B" by one grade point. I appealed the final grade and it was denied. Accepting that was a lesson in humility, I had straight “A’s” and it would ruin my perfect 4.0 GPA. This professor, her conviction, compassion, sticking to her principles and kindness, I remember to this day. Even though it was not what I wanted, it was the right thing to do, and I accepted that. I think that helped me in the long run, learning to not put so much pressure on myself to be a perfectionist at everything.

In 1998, I married my lovely wife, Kathy and we have two beautiful children, Havilah and Abigail. Today, my primary career is a trainer of 9-1-1 operators at Tampa Fire Rescue Communications. Prior to that, I worked for two years as the Tampa Downtown Clean Team Manager and then I had the opportunity to purchase a United Cab Taxi Cab franchise, later on opening a luxury transport company. HCC led me to my career by supporting my efforts and gave me a belief that I could achieve any goal I set for myself, even when it seemed far away and difficult to achieve.

The small class sizes at HCC encourage learning. I remember a class I attended at University of Houston had 500 people in it. You never spoke to the professor and it was just a lecture on a microphone. The personalized attention and one-on-one teaching imparted by the instructors at HCC is second to none. Simply outstanding in my view. I always felt at home at HCC. Go Hawks!