Displaced by Maria: The Cruz Family

With Hurricane Michael and the Florida Panhandle on our minds, we know too well how a storm can so quickly cause havoc and uproot lives. Just a little over a year ago, on Thursday, September 20, 2017, it was a similar story in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria devastated islands like Puerto Rico, causing many to flee to mainland United States.

As a result of that storm, Valencia announced it would waive out-of-state fees for students who relocated from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to Central Florida to provide an opportunity for relocating students to continue their education or create new beginnings, despite the hardships they faced.

For Richelle and Gricelle Cruz, twin sisters aged 18 from the small town of Hatillo on Puerto Rico’s north coast, they learned from their father that Valencia would be offering in-state tuition. They arrived in Central Florida with aspirations to both work and study, and shortly after arriving they enrolled at the Osceola Campus.

Now, the sisters sit down with their mother, Gricell, to remember the series of events that led the family from Puerto Rico to Central Florida in a video created by our Public Relations team:

Read more of their story and the stories of other Puerto Rican students displaced by Hurricane Maria in Vitae.


  • Aracelis Bonet said:

    Viva Puerto Rico! As part of Valencia College, we are happy to have you both here learning and growing your education which will take you very far. Wishing you all much success now and in the future.

    PMTue, 16 Oct 2018 18:47:25 +0000Tue, 16 Oct 2018 18:47:25 +0000pm18,6:47 pm

  • M Rivera said:

    I am glad and happy that they are doing good here at Valencia, I have been working in Valencia for the past 9 years and I am also from that small town(Hatillo) Puerto Rico. I wish you the best. "Ganaderas Hatillo".

    PMTue, 16 Oct 2018 19:16:15 +0000Tue, 16 Oct 2018 19:16:15 +0000pm18,7:16 pm

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