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Fifty-Ninth Commencement



Meet Members of the Class of 2024

Paflore Jean-Michel


Class of 2024
Paflore Jean-Michel

For Paflore Jean-Michel, the path to earning a college degree spanned over two decades and was filled with obstacles.

She grew up in Aux-Cayes, a city in southern Haiti, which she says is "famous for its botanical garden, major ports, and Gelèe Beach," and immigrated to Brooklyn, New York, in 1994 as a teenager to join her father and new family. "I graduated from Prospect Heights High School in the summer of 1996 and applied to Kingsborough Community College with the intention of getting a nursing degree. I was so thrilled to start college and eager to learn," she recounted.

Unfortunately, her dream hit a roadblock when she could not secure financial aid or loans due to her family's income and immigration status. College would have to wait.

In the intervening years, Paflore built a life for herself. "I trained, worked, got married, and had a family of my own that includes three beautiful children. We enjoy spending time together, engaging in spiritual activities, going out, and making music as a family band."

Yet her dream lingered. "Despite everything I had achieved, my deferred dream festered deep within me; I just needed an opportunity."

That opportunity arrived during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns in 2021. With the world shifting online, she started taking online courses in early childhood education, an apt choice because "helping others to better understand things was always my love language."

When in-person classes resumed, she switched to liberal arts to better accommodate her schedule as a longtime employee of the New York City Department of Education.

"It wasn't always easy to juggle work, school, spiritual activities, and family, but I was determined to not only make it but thrive, which resulted in my Dean’s List status every semester," Paflore said of her latest academic journey.

She attributes her success to Kingsborough Community College's online FLEX program and dedicated professors.

Paflore’s story encapsulates perseverance against daunting odds. "My story is one that is being told by many who insist on making their dreams a reality. The formula for success is simply hunger and zeal concerning the interest."

After over 20 years, with an associate degree in hand, she is well on the path she set out for herself as a teenager freshly arrived from Haiti. "Next, I plan on earning a bachelor's degree in psychology, starting in the fall of 2024. My goal is to ultimately become a counselor."

To students just beginning college careers, she advises: "I want to encourage the young ones who are starting college to remain committed and focused, as time is on their side."

Paflore’s example proves it's never too late to make a dream a reality with dedication and resolve.