Dunbar HS student’s lifetime of perseverance leads to graduation

Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla.- To say 18-year-old Alma Jose Cruz has walked a tough road would be an understatement.

Cruz was born in the United States but as a young girl, her family moved to Mexico. A typical trip to the mall turned her life around.

Her father, drunk at the wheel, “he decided to go in the opposite lane,” Cruz recalled. “It was at a curve and another truck was coming at us. My mom was six months pregnant.”

Cruz’s father abandoned her family just days before her 13th birthday. Her mother later had to move away for treatment. Cruz remembers walking for hours on the weekends to visit her mom, while during the week, she attended school.

“School’s always been number one… no matter what,” Cruz said. “I got to the top of my class. I ended with awesome grades.”

But it wasn’t enough for the young girl.

“I decided I wanted to come here to the United States to study,” Cruz said, determined to keep on walking and make it to the top.

An uncle brought Cruz to Florida four years ago. She jumped from house to house, always attending school in Lee County.

“She’s got a whole support group and I’m just so honored to be a part of it,” said Laurie Metz, one of Cruz’s teacher at Dunbar High School.

She’s maintained a near perfect GPA and is in the top 10 percent of her class.

“My job is to get them to see themselves the way I see them… which is limitless,” Metz said. “And able and capable and have the ability to succeed even when you don’t think you can.”

Cruz’s walk continues on Saturday, this time in a cap and gown, as she achieves a goal that sometimes seemed so out of reach.

For those students who doubt they’ll one day be able to make it, “it’s going to be hard, but at the end the results are going to be pretty awesome,” Cruz advised. “”Now I’m going to college!”

Cruz will soon be attending the University of Florida after receiving a full scholarship.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.