School custodian shares how he defied all odds to go back to school at 45 to earn diploma

Elmo Desilva. Source: WGCL

Earlier this year, Elmo Desilva, a custodian for the school district at Indian Creek Elementary School in Clarkston, was looking at getting a promotion to head custodian. However, to be recommended for such a position, he had to earn a high school diploma.

Thankfully, his school principal Stephanie Brown-Bryant told him about the DeKalb County Adult Education Program and he signed up to further his education. It was tough as Desilva had to take night classes twice a week for nearly six months but he persevered because he hates to “fail at something” and didn’t want to disappoint his superiors.

Last Friday, the 45-year-old Georgia school custodian was among 46 adults to receive a high school diploma during a district graduation ceremony. “It wasn’t easy. It was a struggle for a while. But looking back, I am very proud,” Desilva said, according to WSAZ3 News Channel.

Desilva couldn’t be prouder considering his background. Coming from an unstable home where his parents were hardly around, a young Desilva had to work extra hard to take care of his siblings, thus, he had to put his education on hold. 

“I 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,” he explained.

Now, Desilva believes that if he gets promoted to head custodian, it would open more opportunities for him while he would also be able to support his home and plan for retirement. The school principal has meanwhile recommended him for the position.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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