Max overcame personal obstacles to find success at FCC in Orlando. He is now a proud graduate with big plans for the future

Business Student Keeps a Promise to Succeed

When Max Valle Maldonado moved to Florida from New York he promised his best friend and companion, his dog Suzie, that he was going to do something great with his life. The day that Suzie passed away, he acted on his promise and enrolled in the Business Office Administration program at Florida Career College in Orlando.

“She wasn’t only my dog, she was my baby and my emotional support animal,” Max said. “I would talk to her and tell her one day we would have our own place. I had made my promises to her. Her passing away and going through that made me realize I need to wake up and do me and become a better person for myself.”

Max has never had an easy life. He was never close with his family, except his aunt who gave him Suzie before she passed away. Once he came to Florida his housing situation and his relationship with his family were not stable but being the first high school graduate in his family, Max felt like he had a lot to prove.

“I met Max early into his program,” said Sabrina Pherai, a Career Services Specialist in Orlando. “He was experiencing a lot of issues at home. He was really discouraged. I just did what I do with all my students, just coached him through it, gave him the tools he needed, and just made sure I checked on him every day and he was getting by day by day. Max was no different from any of my students. He just needed a little more guidance. He needed a shoulder.”

Max encountered a lot of personal issues in the first few months of his program. Some days he walked for three hours to get to campus, but he knew he could not stop.

“I’m a big dreamer,” he said. “I have lots of plans in my life that I would like to accomplish eventually. I didn’t want to let that go to waste. I knew I had my aunt that was out there looking over me and she would have wanted me to keep it up.”

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Someday, Max plans to create his own skincare business. The skills taught during the Business Office Administration program helped him see what goes into a business and helped him learn about himself.

“It taught me to be patient, more prompt with myself and care for myself believe it or not,” he said. “Being able to attend FCC and seeing all these different students with different issues, motivated me in some ways to reach farther.”

“Max has high energy,” Sabrina said. “He is very driven, very motivated. He never gave up. He is hard-working. He is like a machine. He just doesn’t stop. Anything that knocks him down, he keeps coming back.”

Max was able to apply what he learned at his current job and near the end of his program, he was promoted to a management position. In October he successfully graduated from the program.

“I’m so proud. I feel like he’s my son,” Sabrina said. “He has really worked through some obstacles that a lot of people don’t go through. It was hard for him but it’s very, very rewarding to see he has made it through the program successfully.”

“It means so much to me,” Max said. “Seeing the position where I am right now and accomplishing the things that many people thought I never would. Many people underestimated me, but I got me here. I can’t say that I’ve got my life all sorted out. That would be lying. I don’t know what’s next. The only thing on my mind is work, be happy, improve yourself and maintain your positivity.”