ORLANDO, Fla.— Florida Technical College welcomed the holiday season on Saturday, Dec. 7, with the celebration of its annual Winter Festival. The event was attended by more than 1,500 children with their families who came from neighborhoods near and far from the school’s six campuses in Central and South Florida. The day was packed with holiday cheer, surprises, free haircuts for the children, as well as complimentary photos with Santa. The man in the red suit himself hosted a special breakfast at the Kissimmee campus.
Kissimmee resident, Jesika Reyes, 8, was excited to have a French toast breakfast with Santa by her side. This is the girl’s first Christmas in Orlando—she moved from Puerto Rico a few months ago. Her mother, Yanitza Medina, said the event brought their spirits up and eased their homesickness.
“This has been great,” Medina said. “We feel right at home. The staff has been kind and super friendly, and the food was beyond delicious. We also got to take advantage of the free services since our budget is tight, especially this time of the year. Jesika got a great new haircut for free. I am very happy and grateful.”
FTC President, Dr. James Burkett, participated in the festivities and personally greeted many of the attendees at the Kissimmee campus.
“December is a month that brings families together by spreading joy, love, and the message of peace on earth through different cultures, whether it is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other celebration,” Burkett said. “We are sharing that message by embracing our community, which has become our extended family, and celebrating the beauty of the season with them.”
Also, in keeping the spirit of Christmas, Florida Technical College collected gifts for Toys for Tots. Students, faculty, and staff contribute every year with hundreds of toys for this nonprofit organization run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve. It distributes gifts to children whose parents cannot afford to buy Christmas presents. Almost 90,000 children benefitted last year in South and Central Florida counties alone.
The Winter Festival is one of three annual signature, community events that include a Spring Easter celebration and a fall back-to-school bash with free backpacks, school supplies, health checkups, and more. These FTC Cares initiatives help strengthen the connection between FTC and its neighboring Community Partners while creating opportunities for students to learn, serve, and grow. The school’s commitment to community-building can be seen and felt in each of these events, as well as in many other outreach programs throughout the year.
“As a school, we have placed a high value on being a good neighbor and in contributing to the strengthening of the neighborhoods that we call home,” Burkett said. “It’s part of what we teach our students: to be a good professional in any field, you have to be a good citizen first.”
Florida Technical College is an academic unit of National University College (NUC), which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
About FTC: Founded in 1982 to provide private, post-secondary education in specialized fields, Florida Technical College is an academic unit of National University College (NUC), which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, (267) 284-5000. The MSCHE is a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. FTC offers associate and bachelor’s degrees and diploma programs in a range of professions, including healthcare, construction trades, hospitality, business, information technology, and beauty. FTC campuses are located in Orlando, Lakeland, DeLand, Kissimmee, Pembroke Pines, Cutler Bay, and Tampa. Program availability varies by campus.