A long, long way from her home in the British Virgin Islands, Engrid Malone-Defreitas left her three children to come to Hagerstown Business College to build a better future for herself and her family.
"It was the hardest thing I ever did - leaving my children behind," Malone-Defreitas said Saturday as she addressed her fellow graduates and a host of relatives who journeyed to see her graduate summa cum laude from the HBC health information technology associate degree program.
Describing herself as a role model for her children, Malone-Defreitas said she never gave up her goal.
"I'll never forget this experience - Hagerstown Business College made my dreams come true," she said.
More than 150 students who earned degree or certificates in allied health, business, legal studies and computer technology were eligible to graduate at the Saturday morning ceremony at North Hagerstown High School.