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All-American Success Stories in Workforce Education

 A Survivor, an Artist and an Inspiration

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Queenie Archer
First Place Winner, Adult Education,
Region 5


Queenie was born a beautiful normal baby but, at nine months, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Her speech became severely impaired. Over time, her arms and legs curled and atrophied and she became confined to a wheelchair. She remembers the day she was taken to the state institution for the mentally retarded "like it was yesterday." After sixteen years, Queenie moved with her family to Fort Lauderdale. It was here that Queenie enrolled in Broward County's Adults with Disabilities Program. Queenie made tremendous strides and, with the help of her instructors, learned to read and write, paint, and use a computer. She has even written her autobiography! She uses a head pointer to paint and adaptive equipment to write poetry, create computer graphics, and exchange e-mails. She also maintains her own web site.

Queenie has achieved a remarkable amount of independence and control over her life. She has moved out of her group home and into her own apartment. Queenie was selected as Broward County's "Adult Outstanding Student of the Year" for 2002 by Career, Technical and Adult/Community Education.

Twice a week, at the Nova University Tyler Institute for Disabled Children, Queenie teaches 6 to 13-year-old severely disabled children how to use adaptive equipment to access computers and the Internet. Queenie is vice-president of Handicapped Artists Painting Productions for You (HAPPY). This group promotes the work of disabled artists.

In a September 10, 1995 article about Queenie in the Miami Herald entitled, "A Survivor, An Artist – and An Inspiration," Queenie said that she believed that her greatest contribution would turn out to be her paintings. Queenie's artwork will only be part of her legacy. Her real contribution will be the inspiration and hope she has given others by her example and the attention she has brought to others with disabilities. As she says, "Everybody has something to offer."

 He Has Come Full Circle

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Angel Lozada
Second Place Winner, Adult Education,
Region 5


Angel Lozada was sent to the Dade County Boot Camp program for young offenders because of gang-related crimes. Due to his outstanding effort and attitude, he was voted Guide Arm of his platoon, the highest ranking leadership role a cadet can attain. Then he obtained his State of Florida High School Diploma and voluntarily served as a full-time tutor. After graduation, he was hired by the Cheesecake Factory and was quickly promoted from busing tables to serving customers. He impressed the president of the company and was promoted to regional trainer and later national trainer. His exemplary work ethic prompted his arresting officer to go to court to have his charges reduced and his probation terminated. On a local television program, Angel appealed to the medical community for assistance in having his gang tatoos removed and he was successful. He is expected to be promoted to manager of one of the local franchises. His future plans are to attend school and get a degree in culinary arts.

On numerous occasions, Angel has returned to the Boot Camp to speak to the cadets. He speaks from his heart and sets the example of what a graduate can be. He reinforces the need for education and outlines how his military bearing and discipline has helped him attain promotions in business. It takes great courage and honesty to speak about his experiences. He has come full circle.

For more information on the All-American Success Stories, see http://www.fldoe.org/news/2004/2004_02_13-2.asp.