From left: Daniel, Rogelio and Jose Guzman-Ramos show off their new USF class rings. | Photo courtesy of Jose Guzman-Ramos
Tampa, FL (May 1, 2017) -- From
the fields of Immokalee, Fla. to the commencement stage at the University of
South Florida Sun Dome, brothers Rogelio, Daniel and Jose Guzman-Ramos will all
graduate with bachelor’s degrees this Saturday, May 6. The brothers, sons of Mexican immigrants,
will be the first in their family’s history to earn college degrees.
are proof that your circumstances don’t dictate your future,” said Daniel, 22, a
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation scholar who will graduate from the USF
College of Engineering with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. “We all had goals and dreams to finish
college, and now that dream is a reality.
It’s a very satisfying feeling, but it’s only the beginning.”
of a “less-than-exciting childhood,” as Daniel describes, helped motivate the
three brothers to get a college education.
The Guzman-Ramos were raised in a low-income family in a south Florida
town plagued with poverty. Their father
worked long hours in the fields picking the seasonal fruits and vegetables
while their mother worked in the local packaging warehouse – making very little
money. Phrases like “times are going to
be tough,” “we can’t afford that,” were common in their lives.
parents immigrated from Oaxaca, Mexico in the early 1980s with very limited
educational opportunities compared to their sons. However, they continually reminded the
brothers that an education is the key to success and a brighter future.
Although the Guzman-Ramos brothers have different career goals, one goal
remains constant: provide a better life for their parents.
was always first and foremost for our parents.
We want our parents to live with more comfort and not have to worry
about bills and eventually never work in the fields again,” said Rogelio, 23,
who will graduate from the College of Education with a bachelor’s degree in
exercise science. He plans to attend USF School of Physical Therapy and
Rehabilitative Science to pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
parents missed meals and bills to make sure we had what we needed for school
growing up. Now we are in a better
position to give them back some of those meals they had to miss,” Rogelio said.
Guzman-Ramos brothers grew up not knowing what it was like to relax when the
school year was over. The boys worked in
the fields during the weekends, summer vacations, and other scheduled breaks
during the school year. They took it
upon themselves to help their parents earn income for the house for bills,
food, and school clothes.
didn’t matter how tired they were after working more than 12 hours a day, they
always made it a point to make sure we did all of our homework,” Daniel
is currently writing a book titled No
Time to Dream, highlighting his path to a college education, the resources
he used to get there, and hopefully some encouragement for kids to believe
anything is possible through good work.
Guzman-Ramos brothers hope they can be an inspiration other children in Immokalee,
and adults who are considering high school, including their youngest sibling
Guadalupe, 17, and eldest sibling Yolanda, 28.
all feel like this was in someone’s divine plan for us to be in the position
we’re in,” said Jose, 21, who like Rogelio, will receive a bachelor’s degree in
exercise science. “We have to make sure we do the right thing, and stay true to
our morals of helping our family and community.”
Story by Freddie Coleman, University Communications and Marketing