“As a Cuban refugee with no financial means, I had no expectations of attending college; but, “Proyecto Oportunidad” at HCC changed that and changed my future.”

— Margarita Gonzalez, HCC Graduate, Community Leader

After arriving from Cuba with my family in 1966, my first hurdle was to learn English, which I did. Yet, in high school, I was placed in a non-college track like many immigrants were. However, I learned about “Proyecto Oportunidad,” a scholarship grant at HCC. This was the kickstart of my journey in pursuit of a much-desired college education that I knew would change my life. Thanks to HCC, I gained the academic knowledge, and had the financial support to earn my A.A. Degree. At the University of South Florida, I earned a B.A. in Mass Communications with a Minor in Spanish. With my public relations and bilingual expertise, I launch my career at Port Tampa Bay. Later, I was hired by the City of Tampa as Community/Public Relations Coordinator, where I worked for almost 30 years and had a wide spectrum of responsibilities. I was also producer and host of “Nuestra Tampa”, the City’s first Spanish-language program on CTTV, which I created. I never dreamed that I would become Hispanic Woman of the Year, HCC’s and USF’s Outstanding Alumna, and receive other awards and recognitions. I am incredibly thankful to HCC for “la oportunidad” and for serving as launching pad to a long and rewarding career in public service.