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Wheels to Independence Needed for Driven MDC Student

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Miami, March 24, 2011 - Luis Vazquez, 21, is popular on campus. A cool dresser, a big Heat fan and top student, he straddles the line between your typical college student and the non-traditional student who strives to overcome obstacles to succeed. Luis has muscular dystrophy and confined to a wheelchair, but it does not stop the Kendall Campus student from having a 4.0 GPA and dreaming of a bright future.  That dream includes working for a major sports franchise as a computer technician and getting a van to get there.

Luis is dependent on Miami-Dade County’s Special Transportation Services to get around. Given the size of the community, budget reductions at the County and the volume of calls, the service is not reliable for the young man with big ambitions and a drive for independence and self-sufficiency.

“Regardless of the hardships we face, we must take control of our destiny. To be successful, you have to fight for it,” said an always positive Luis. 

The van Luis needs requires nearly $100,000 for modifications to enable him to enter it in his wheelchair on a customized ramp and get behind the wheel where many other modifications are required. A Federal and State Vocational Rehabilitation program will pay for the upgrades, but Luis must provide a new van which will run more than $35,000. His parents, who he lives with, support all his activities, but do not have the means to acquire the van. He has a sister who’s also impacted by a debilitating muscular illness.

“Luis truly exemplifies the tenacious and hard working Miami Dade College student trying to get an education and contribute to society. He makes us all proud, and is an inspiration to everyone he meets,” said MDC president, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón. “I urge everyone to rally around his cause. We will all be better for it as I know Luis will do great things in the future.”   


To help Luis’ cause, please visit


Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
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