Doing her best to set a good example for her sons is something that Maria Ennis has done since her son George Aponte, was born. For most of George’s childhood, Maria was a single mother to him and his younger brother. But she was determined to teach them that there was no obstacle or challenge too big to prevent them from achieving whatever they set out to do.

And, on December 11, 41-year-old Maria will again demonstrate the power of determination when she graduates with a Bachelor of Arts in Supervision Management, while George 19, will receive his Associate of Arts with a concentration in Journalism.

Time is not a Deterrent

Maria and George
Maria Ennis and George Aponte

After Maria left home at 18, she soon found herself pregnant with George, and life became difficult. At the time, she was pursuing a degree at Miami Dade College, but finding the time and financial resources to continue school and raise a child seemed impossible.

She tried college again in 2006, but plans fell through.

In 2009, Maria met her husband, who she credits for being her “biggest support” while working towards completing her postsecondary education. “After I met my husband, I was able to focus on going back to school finally. I was managing two sons and a full-time job all by myself, but having him with me gave me the space I needed to enroll at Broward College,” Maria says. She completed her associate’s degree in 2016 and has been working on her bachelor’s since then. She doesn’t plan on stopping, as she was accepted to Barry University to pursue an MBA in Management for spring 2020.

“It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to accomplish something, the important thing is to do it anyway,” Maria says.

Following Strong Footsteps

George has witnessed his mother’s determination since he was young. As he completes his first college degree, he is grateful for the example and lessons she taught him. “She is the greatest role model any son can have,” says George. “I am beyond lucky that she is my mother. Growing up, I didn’t fully understand all the sacrifices she made for my brother and me, but now that I do, it makes me feel so lucky.”

George has been accepted into the Teacher Education program at the College to pursue his bachelor’s, which he will start in the spring of 2020. He is still passionate about pursuing a career in communications at some point and is hoping to secure an internship at a radio station.

Walking the Stage Together

“I’m just so proud of my son and everything he has accomplished,” Maria says, full of emotion. “To me, the best thing in the world is to sit next to him and walk together during commencement because it shows me that I was successful at teaching him the importance of education.”

Reaching this crucial milestone, along with his mother is a “gift” for George as well. “I know that she wasn’t able to accomplish this before in part because of me, so being able to achieve this together is just a testament as to how strong and perseverant she is,” he says. “I tell her every day how much I love her and how thankful I am for everything she has done for me.”

Broward College is proud to serve as the first step in your journey to achieve greatness. Learn more about career opportunities in Business, Education, and more.