Overcoming Adversity, Finding His Way: Information Technology Graduate Andrew Carter understands the power of perseverance.

andrew carter picIn 2013, Andrew, then a senior at Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes, was poised to attend the University of West Florida, hoping to become the first person in his family to earn a bachelor’s degree. But after his father passed away unexpectedly, he made the difficult choice to stay near his mother to offer financial and emotional support.

Andrew worked a series of jobs to help his family pay the bills. At the time, he couldn’t foresee how college would factor into his future as a working adult. “I didn’t know if I should continue school or not,” he said. “I wanted to go to a trade school so I could make money faster to help my mom pay the bills around the house. It wasn’t on my mind to pursue a traditional four-year degree.”

Never give up on your dreams

Once again, it was his family that inspired him to realize his dreams of earning a college education. Encouraged by his mother and the sacrifices she made for him, he decided to enroll at Broward College. He said the College offered him a pathway to learning that fit his schedule and personal needs. “Broward College is very flexible with the scheduling of their classes, and I found that I learn better at night, so I became a nighttime student,” he said. “I also didn’t want to go to a university because of their class sizes, and I feel I learn better with smaller classes because the professor is more personal.”

Even at Broward College, however, Andrew faced his share of hurdles. Still working to support his family, he took several one-year hiatuses to concentrate on work. During his studies, he was uncertain about which degree best suited his career goals. Fortunately, Broward College offered him the support and guidance he needed to achieve clarity on his professional goals. He decided on Information Technology and relied on the College’s tutoring services to fully master course material.  

“I pushed through the obstacles by just believing in myself and wanting a better life for my family,” he said. “It means a lot to me to be the first to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in my family because it shows my family members that if I can do it, so can they.”

Turning Tragedy into Triumph

As it turns out, perseverance runs in Andrew’s family. Generations of his family include survivors of the 1923 Rosewood Massacre, a racist mob attack on the predominantly Black city of Rosewood in Central Florida in which scores of Black residents were killed by more than 200 white men from neighboring towns. The massacre left the town deserted, and survivors moved elsewhere to repair their lives. For Andrew, the presence of Rosewood in his family’s history reminds him of his ancestor’s indomitable spirit in the face of tragedy.    

“Knowing about my ancestors gave me strength to want to become a successful individual because I didn’t want their sacrifices to go in vain,” he said. “If they didn’t escape from Rosewood, I may not have been here today. To show my gratitude, I would like to become successful in life.”

Andrew will join thousands of other spring 2022 graduates on Thursday, May 5 at the Broward County Convention Center to celebrate the completion of his Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology. Because of his Broward College education, he was able to find great-paying jobs at the South Florida Water Management District and Broward Health. His ultimate goal, however, is to one day work for the FBI, pursuing a master’s degree in Informatics along the way.

Like his ancestors who sacrificed so much to provide him with a better life, Andrew remains committed to honoring those who will follow in his footsteps: “I want to be a good example for my future kids and family,” he said. “I would want them to get the best education that they can, and I want to show them that they can find a good school like Broward college and complete their degree at their own pace.”