Sabrina's journey has not been an easy one, but she is now focused on achieving her dreams through education at Florida Career College

Lauderdale Lakes Student Pursuing Her Dreams

Sabrina Matthews has always dreamed of opening her own food truck and running her own business, but for too many years life had a way of getting in the way.

In 2014, Sabrina decided it was time to focus on herself—but then she noticed a lump on her leg that was not going away. At the urging of her children, she visited a doctor. The lump turned out to be cancerous and required surgery and months of radiation, putting her education plans on hold. Her treatments caused a lot of pain in her leg and left her permanently using a cane to walk. Later that same year, her mother passed away from cancer. Her uncle passed away the next year.

“Years went by,” Sabrina said. “I got so depressed that I lost where I was living. Eventually I found somewhere else to go. After that I was just wanting to do something for myself. One day I woke up and thought ‘tomorrow is not promised.’”

Sabrina’s mother never finished high school, but she always wanted to achieve a diploma and more with her education. Sabrina decided to enroll in school, not only for herself but in honor of her mother as well. She enrolled in the Business Office Administration program at Florida Career College in Lauderdale Lakes.

“I had to push on and do something for me because [my mom] tried so hard,” she said. “She had cancer in different parts of her body and you would never know that she was sick. She just kept pushing at everything. My mom was a strong woman and I just can’t give up. I just kept telling that to myself. I’ve come this far and God blessed me to see another day and another day. I have to do something with my life.”


As soon as she came to FCC, Sabrina knew it was a good choice for her. It had been years since she had attended school and she was nervous about using a computer, but the staff assured her that she could do it.

“My first day of class, my teacher was telling me what to do and I raised my hand and said ‘I don’t know anything about computers,’” Sabrina said. “He said ‘You know you have to use computers through this whole class, right?’ I said ‘That’s what they told me, but they told me you would help.’ He said ‘You know what? I got you.’

“He was so patient with me. I was about to give up the second week, it was stressing me out, and he just gave me websites to go on to practice typing and all the stuff I didn’t know, he would take his time and show me.”

Her instructor, Javon Powell, said he could tell she was intimidated but he also knew she was determined to do well.

“One thing I always tell them is to trust yourself,” he said. “I’ve banned any type of negative talk in any of my classes. I don’t allow it. We speak life through our words… At first she was a little sheepish with it but now I don’t have to tell her to trust herself. She already knows ‘Trust myself. Trust myself.’ I’ve driven it into them so much.”

As she has learned to trust herself, Sabrina has also learned to trust her instructors at FCC.

“Florida Career College feels like home to me,” she said. “The people are so welcoming. They are polite. They guide you in the right direction. If they don’t know it, they’ll take you to somebody who does. It’s mainly about the people. They really go out of their way to help.”

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Sabrina gained a passion for cooking from her grandmother. She cooks soul food for her family and has always dreamed of sharing it with the world through a food truck.

“Cooking to me is my expression of myself,” she said. “If people enjoy my food, then I’m happy. I cook for family functions, I cook for friends. I just love cooking. I always have, all my life.”

The skills she’s learned through FCC will help her understand how to better manage her money and the steps she needs to take to run her business well.

“I’m looking forward to getting my truck up and running,” she said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but I never had the courage to get up and do it. I kept saying ‘This year I’m going to do it. This year. This year.’ Before, everything that was going on in my life stopped me from trying. At that time, it was like my mom and my uncle died and it changed me. I decided to at least try and not give up.”

She still has a few more classes to finish to graduate from FCC. Once she does, she plans to go to culinary school to expand her expertise. At this point, Sabrina said, nothing is going to stop her from achieving her dream. Her teacher agrees.

“She’s one of the students who really wants it in everything that she does from the way she is determined to come through class,” Javon said. “There have been times when she has worked all day, dealt with various things with her personal life at home, pulled up to school and there’s no handicap parking for whatever reason so she has to walk from the back of the parking lot, and by the time she gets to class she’s exhausted. She’ll sit down, gather herself for a moment, and then she turns into the Rockstar that she is. You can just tell that she truly wants this, and nothing is going to stop her. Some people, having the day like she has sometimes, would go crawl up in a corner somewhere but she continuously pushed through. When she says go, she’s going to get it done.”