"I can achieve any goal I set my mind to. Yes, I can. I know I can."
Berta Gonzalez wrote this line for the character Javier in her play Learning to Say Goodbye. Javier uses these words to summon his strength and confidence as he leaves his family for the first time to go to college far from home.
It is with equal courage and assurance that Berta prepares to make her own journey to Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida this fall. Although she is not the first child in her family to go to college, she is the first to leave home to attend school and she anticipates that the change will be a challenging one.
"Right now is a time of transitions and I’m closing a lot of chapters in my life but starting to write on the page of another," Berta says, capturing the essence of her experience neatly. Berta is an accomplished writer and poised speaker but seems consistently surprised and humble about her own success.
Her play Learning to Say Goodbye was featured in the 2005 New Play Festival. "It felt really exciting. I was really honored. I never thought a work of mine would be performed. I like to write and so when I saw a play of mine being performed I felt really proud," Berta remembers.
She advises other playwrights: "When a student writes a play, they should write about something they feel passion for, because passion helps your mind create a whole world. Then, at the end, the play is a masterpiece. That’s how it went for mine."
Berta’s accomplishments extend beyond playwriting. She graduated from Bell Multicultural High School this past May as valedictorian with a 4.11 grade point average.
Upon graduating from college she plans to return to the Washington DC area "One of the strongest passions I have is for community service," Berta says. "I want to go to college and come back and serve the community. This is where I grew up and this is where I feel my talents and gifts should return."