One Encounter Became a Turning Point | Broward College Office of Advancement and Broward College Foundation

One Encounter Became a Turning Point

John Green


In 1988, John Green was a bus driver working for Broward County Transit, taking classes at Broward College, but putting forth minimal effort.

“I was a mediocre student with a mediocre attitude flubbing my way through,” Green said. “I was just trying to get by.”

Green’s confidence had taken a hit in public school, and it hadn’t rebounded in college.

But that was all about to change.

One encounter with a caring Broward College economics professor, Jerry Schwartz, became a turning point for John Green.

“I got into his class and found it interesting,” Green said. “I decided that maybe I should try to learn something. I got a 100 on my first exam, and Professor Schwartz said, ‘No one gets 100 percent on my exams.’”

John Green today, with his wife, Nancy, 10-year-old adopted twins, Hannah and Rachel, and 5-month-old “surprise” blessing, Abigail.

John Green today, with his wife, Nancy, 10-year-old adopted
twins, Hannah and Rachel, and 5-month-old “surprise”
blessing, Abigail.

Schwartz encouraged Green to aspire beyond driving a bus. He gently pushed him to new heights by getting him involved in the business student organization, Phi Beta Lambda. He challenged him to ace his second and third tests, which Green did. “It was the first time in my educational life that I actually believed that if I applied myself I could succeed.”

Working nights and going to class in the mornings, it took Green eight years to earn a two-year degree. After Broward College, he continued his studies, earning his Bachelor’s degree and a Master of Business Administration. Today, Green is the Chief Financial Officer for the Kansas City International Airport.

Green traces his personal success back to that pivotal moment in Professor Schwartz’s class, and he recently sent his mentor an email. “I have often thought of the impact that you had on my life. I have shared this story with many young people struggling with their confidence. Thank you so much for taking the interest in me.”

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When Stefan Dacosta’s parents divorced, he and his sisters moved from South Florida to Atlanta with his mother, who worked three jobs to hold the family together. The task of caring for three younger siblings fell on Stefan, an eighth-grader. Stefan always excelled at school, but shouldering adult responsibilities at such a young age prevented him from fully exploring his potential … until he became a student at Broward College.