Gr8 Inspiration: Pepin Academy grad sets shining example for others

Joseph Bratsztein

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Pepin Academy graduates are heading into the workforce getting practical experience to jump start their careers.

The Hillsborough public charter school serves students with specific learning and learning-related disabilities.

To help students, businesses and community leaders like Hillsborough County Public Defender Julianne Holt are welcoming teenagers to join internship programs.

“It’s been such an amazing experience,” said 19-year-old Joseph Bratsztein.

His journey through life hasn’t been easy. From heart and lung surgeries as an infant, to dealing with autism, seizures and epilepsy as an adult, his mom marvels at her son’s determination.

“He’s a fighter, he was a fighter from the very beginning. Some of the family members said, ‘Oh he’s not going to make it, but here he is,” said Carol Bratsztein, fighting back tears.

After seeing government in action, now Bratsztein hopes to hold an elected position one day and first on his agenda would be education reform.

“You’ve got these students going out there in the real world. All they know is reading and math, they don’t know anything practical. I’d like to have more practical classes like trade classes,” said Bratsztein.

Fighting to give other kids the same opportunities he had is what makes Joseph Bratztein a Gr8 Inspiration.


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