PCCC Alumna is Special Guest at Opening Ceremony
Juana Ortiz, a 2009 alumna of PCCC, will be the special guest at the Women’s History Month opening ceremony starting at 12 noon on March 3.
Juana will speak about her recently published memoir, I Made It, which tells the story of her difficult, but successful quest for a college education and for a life of independence despite having cerebral palsy since birth. In pursuing her dreams, Juana defied the limitations society tried to impose on her as a person with a disability and the roles imposed on women in her traditional Hispanic (Dominican) culture.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Juana came to the U.S. at age 15, settling with her family in Paterson. With little formal education, no English language skills, and a disability that impairs her physical capabilities and her speech, Juana started as a special education, was soon mainstreamed to regular high school. She graduated from JFK High School at age 24 and went on to earn an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts/English from PCCC, 12 years after she first enrolled. She also earned a BA in Journalism from William Paterson University.
Juana wrote her memoir, which is both heartbreaking and inspirational, to encourage others who may be discouraged about achieving their dreams.
She also founded a non-profit organization, Rainbow of Talent in New Jersey, Inc. for the same purpose.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase and a book signing will be held as part of the opening ceremony.