“I truly believe everything I have today in life is because of HCC. HCC is not only a school, it's a home, a family where they care deeply for the students; from the professors to the president of the college. They see your potential and know how to help you achieve your dreams.”

— Khumari Barakzai, 2017 HCC Graduate

Education is a precious thing that is denied of many people. I know this first hand, having grown up in Afghanistan at a time when educating girls was illegal. When I was young, I did chores for a neighbor who in exchange, offered to teach me. In 2012, at 20-years-old, I immigrated to the U.S., and in 2013 had my daughter. Still yearning for knowledge, I enrolled at HCC because of the low tuition cost, but soon realized that I still could not afford school, so I dropped out. The dean of the college called me personally to see if HCC could help. My chemistry professor, Brenda Alanis came up with a solution. Knowing that I excelled at math, she helped me get a job on campus as a math tutor. HCC also helped me obtain a scholarship. In 2017, I was honored by The Tampa Bay Lightning, being chosen as a Lightning Community Hero of Tomorrow. I am continuing my education at the University of South Florida and majoring computer science. I owe HCC, the administration and my professors a great debt of gratitude. HCC changed my life.