Student story: Grad proves she’s a fighter, survivor

By Mark Richardson

Seminole State Commits grad doesn’t let cancer stop her educational goals

Seminole State Commits graduate Stephanie Smith is proof that with hard work and determination anything is possible.

Last fall, Smith, 42, was part of the first cohort of Seminole State College of Florida students in the Seminole State Commits program to complete a pilot business certificate course at the Dr. Velma H. Williams Westside Community Center in Sanford’s Goldsboro community.

While enrolled in the program, Smith was battling Stage 4 Breast Cancer but didn’t let that stop her from finishing. Smith mastered Microsoft Office platforms PowerPoint and Excel and was so inspired by her courses and determination to help others, she started a nonprofit breast cancer foundation, Fighting Cancer and Surviving Cancer Foundation, Inc., whose mission is to offer resources and support that are meaningful to those newly diagnosed, in treatment, post-treatment and living with cancer.

“I want everyone to know that whatever your goals and dreams are, you can do it. I was sick fighting cancer and I made it. I’m very proud of myself and thankful to everyone at Seminole State who supported me,” Smith said.

The Seminole State Commits program, in collaboration with founding partners Seminole County, the city of Sanford and Orlando Health, offers workforce training and supportive services free of charge to students in underserved neighborhoods in Seminole County. The goal is to ensure all county residents have access to education and training to create a pathway to a stable, family-sustaining and fulfilling career.

The Seminole Board of County Commissioners has pledged $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support the initiative, which seeks to provide employers with the workforce talent needed to ensure businesses thrive and grow.

The courses are offered as not-for-credit, continuing education coursework in high-demand fields that will lead to jobs. Because the coursework is derived from credit programs, the modules completed by the students can be articulated into credit toward a certificate or degree.

Smith plans to further her education at Seminole State majoring in business and information management.

This article was originally published here.

Mark Richardson

is manager of public relations, media relations and institutional communications at Seminole State College of Florida.