Throughout their journey at FIU, Green School students Pasquale Giovine and Margarita Rentis have proven that perseverance, hard work and a can-do attitude really do pay off.
For Pasquale “Pash” Giovine, two moments stand out as among the greatest in his life so far. Both are connected to FIU and both brought tears to his eyes.
The first came four years ago when he was working out with his brother in Chicago and he received an email saying he’d been accepted to FIU.
The second moment came just a couple months ago when he played his first game as goalkeeper for FIU against the University of North Florida and helped the team in a shutout game.
His parents were in town for the game and, like a scene in a movie, he took his jersey off and threw it to them.
Pasquale, who had dropped out of community college and was working as a deli manager at home, attributes the turnaround in his life to his brother’s influence.
Once Luca accepted an offer from FIU, Pasquale was determined to join him. He went back to school, got his grades up, worked nights and stayed in shape so he could play soccer too.
Pasquale, who is considered the “heart and soul” of the men’s soccer team, says he’ll have another proud moment when he joins his brother walking across the stage at commencement – the first in their family to graduate college. Pasquale will be graduating this December with a bachelor of arts in sociology and anthropology.
For Margarita Rentis, life took a turn when she least expected it.
One week before Margarita's last semester at FIU began, her mother suffered a brain aneurysm. At first, her mother’s condition was critical. When things stabilized, it became apparent that – as is usual in these situations – her mother would face a long path to recovery.
Margarita quit her two jobs and was ready to leave school and take care of her mom. But, her father told her he would take care of her mother and asked Margarita to focus on her education. She had to keep going.
After visiting her mother twice a day for three months at the hospital and continuing as a full-time student, Margarita graduated with a 3.9 GPA.
Margarita studied abroad in Japan three times and became the first student at FIU and in South Florida to receive the Department of State’s prestigious Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study the Japanese language.
She says the CLS scholarship is just one example of how her advisor in the Global Learning Medallion program, Eric Feldman, impacted her education. He suggested she consider the scholarship and connected her with then-FIU Diplomat-in-Residence Catherine Rodriguez, who helped her through the application process.
A truly global citizen, Margarita has lived in her father’s native Greece and embraces the importance of study abroad.
She is currently interning at BBC Worldwide in Coral Gables and will start a marketing and sales internship at Grace Hotels in London after graduation.
She will graduate this semester with a bachelor of arts in Asian Studies and a bachelor of business administration.
Margarita and Pasquale will be recognized as Worlds Ahead Graduates during their commencement ceremony later this month.