Making Their Mark
Constructing a Bright Future
Miami Dade College gave Aaron Duty a lift just when he needed it most.
Having struggled throughout much of his academic career at Miami’s Carol City High School, Duty knew he needed better guidance in college, so he contacted Fredric Toney, assistant director of Academic Advisement and Career Services at MDC’s North Campus.
Toney didn’t just speak to Duty over the phone, he actually drove over to Carol City to help the teen complete a career assessment and decide on a major.
That early guidance from Toney, plus powerful mentoring from other MDC faculty and advisors, helped transform Duty from a teenager who habitually overslept, often missing class at Carol City High, to a young man who is the first one to report at his job, where he is a site manager for Facchina Construction Company.
“I couldn’t have done this without Miami Dade College,” said Duty, 25. “To show that level of interest in me was amazing.”
At MDC, Duty became a model student, earning a 3.9 GPA, making the Dean’s List seven consecutive times, becoming a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and completing an MDC associate degree with a focus in building construction. He then transferred to a four-year university and finished a bachelor’s degree in construction management, graduating cum laude in the fall.
Duty, who was raised by a single mother – Raquel Duty, a unit secretary at Jackson Memorial Hospital – decided to make such a dramatic change because he wanted a better life for himself and his mom.
The hard-working construction manager says he owes special thanks to Carlton Daley, who directs TRIO Student Support Services at MDC.
“Mr. Daley is largely responsible for my success today as a manager,” Duty said.
In addition, Duty appreciates the lessons learned from his favorite professor, Katrika Sterling, who taught him in a speech class.
“Before that class, I didn’t talk very much – I usually just kept to myself,” Duty said. “But then I learned how important it is to communicate your ideas effectively.
“I did a presentation in that class on Mahatma Gandhi and his quote – ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world’. And that’s how I live my life now.”