‘I am very proud’: School custodian goes back to high school, graduates at age 45
STONE MOUNTAIN, Georgia (WANF) -- On Friday evening, a DeKalb County school custodian accepted his high school diploma during a district adult education ceremony.
“It wasn’t easy. It was a struggle for a while. And to achieve and get through it, and looking back, I am very proud,” said Elmo Desilva.
Desilva, 45, is a custodian within the school district at Indian Creek Elementary School in Clarkston.
He was one of 46 adults to receive a high school diploma during a district graduation ceremony.
Earlier this year Desilva was eying a promotion to Head Custodian for the school.
But to be considered for the promotion, he needed a high school degree.
That’s when his school principal, Stephanie Brown-Bryant ushered him to the DeKalb County Adult Education Program
“By having our staff members equipped with educational opportunities, it will really lend itself to growth, not just for them but for our school,” said Brown-Bryant.
Desilva said he took night classes twice per week for nearly six months.
“I hate to fail at something. I didn’t want to start and not finish. I didn’t want to disappoint my boss,” said Desilva, in an interview with Atlanta News First on Friday.
As a teen, Desilva said he lived in an unstable home with parents who were not always around. He said he had to take on extra responsibility to take care of his younger siblings, and thus, his education had to wait.
“Had to make money to put food on the table and clothes on their backs as a young teenager. It just pulled me out of school,” Desilva said.
Desilva said being promoted to Head Custodian would help him support his family and plan for retirement.
He also said the position could potentially open up further professional opportunities.
When asked if Desilva earning his GED had positioned him for the Head Custodian position, Brown-Bryant said this:
“I think you might be seeing him around possible. Strong possibility that he will be our candidate our selected candidate. To be honest, I’ve already recommended him for the position.
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