June 12, 2023

In the realm of education, there are stories that transcend the boundaries of time and place, stories that inspire and ignite a flame of hope within us. Brajan Funes, a student at Forsyth Tech Community College, took the stage to share his extraordinary journey, filled with both challenges and triumphs. His speech not only painted a picture of personal growth but also highlighted the transformative power of education and the impact of Forsyth Tech in shaping his path. Let’s delve into Brajan’s captivating narrative, where struggles transformed into strength, and dreams became a beacon of hope.

Born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Brajan’s early years were marked by adversity. The devastating Hurricane Mitch wreaked havoc on his homeland, prompting his family to seek refuge in the United States. At just two years old, Brajan’s father embarked on a treacherous journey across the desert, followed by his mother a year later, hidden among others in the back of a semi-truck. At the tender age of four, Brajan himself flew to the U.S. with a forged passport. Their arrival in Forsyth County became the foundation of a new life, filled with opportunities and unforeseen challenges.

Brajan’s educational journey took an uncertain turn after graduating high school. Eager to pursue higher education, he faced the harsh reality of exorbitant out-of-state tuition fees. Unable to afford the cost, he made a bold decision to venture to California, captivated by the allure of San Francisco. Working multiple jobs just to make ends meet, fate intervened when Brajan unexpectedly found himself sitting across from a banker, opening the door to a career in finance. These twists of fate sparked Brajan’s thirst for personal and intellectual growth, eventually leading him back to North Carolina and to the doors of Forsyth Tech.

Enrolling at Forsyth Tech marked a turning point in Brajan’s life. The institution became more than a mere educational institution; it became a wellspring of hope and a catalyst for change. Brajan discovered a renewed sense of purpose, realizing that his struggles could be transformed into a voice for the underrepresented. Through the support of Forsyth Tech, Brajan’s financial burden eased, allowing him to focus on his studies and embrace his role as an advocate for equitable opportunities.

In his poignant speech, Brajan acknowledged the shared struggles we all face in life. He emphasized the importance of empathy and understanding, urging everyone to recognize the depth of each individual’s journey. Drawing inspiration from civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and lawyer Bryan Stevenson, Brajan highlighted the power of hopefulness and the need for voices that champion justice and equality. Forsyth Tech, with its inclusive vision and commitment to empowering lives, became the perfect platform for Brajan’s aspirations.

Brajan’s story at Forsyth Tech epitomizes the transformative power of education and the resilience of the human spirit. His journey, from a young refugee navigating life’s uncertainties to a student embracing his struggles and advocating for change, is a testament to the indomitable nature of the human will. Forsyth Tech’s dedication to providing opportunities and fostering a sense of hope has empowered Brajan and countless others to shape a brighter future.