By Marybel Rodriguez

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Luz Brito and Luisana Munoz are doing something no other family member has done before.

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“My parents made the sacrifice to come here and I’m not going to waste that,” said Munoz.

The two families came to this country in search of a better life.

Luz came from Cuba when she was eight years old. Luisana arrived in the US from Venezuela just three in a half years ago. The young ladies spoke little to no English but were determined not about to let language get in the way of pursuing their dream.

“I loved to take hard classes, I always liked to challenge myself, only taking AP and honors classes,” said Munoz.

Going to college has always been a dream for the two recent graduates.

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Munoz graduated from American Senior High School and Brito from Hialeah Gardens High.

Now that dream will be a reality. The young ladies were awarded full scholarships by the Florida Atlantic University’s Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program and they couldn’t be more excited.

“They called me and told me, I was so happy I went to my grandmas and jumped on her bed,” said Brito.

Brito said her parents, who are factory workers, have always pushed her towards her goal of working in the tech industry. Munoz, who was living in rough conditions in Venezuela, hopes to become a surgeon and one day help the people in her homeland.

Dreams that are now possible thanks to generous donors and FAU.

The Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program was developed by FAU President John Kelly and his wife Carolyn Kelly, along with Boca Raton philanthropists Aubrey and Sally Strul. Through the program, the students receive tuition, four years of campus housing and additional resources needed to graduate debt free from FAU.

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The program launched last year and awarded four students with scholarships. This year they have been able to grant 20 students scholarships including Brito and Munoz.

Marybel Rodriguez