Joseph “Gabe” Sonnier is now the principal at the Louisiana elementary school where he served as a janitor for 27 years. Sonnier had been working at Port Barre Elementary for over 30 years when he was selected as their new principal last November. He originally began his college education at Southern University, The Advocate reports, but dropped out in 1979 after one year to help support his mother and four siblings.
The inspiration to complete his education degree came in 1985, when the principal at the time approached him about becoming a teacher, reports CBS. The former custodian began studying in his free time and working towards his degree, which he earned and began teaching in 2008, according to The Advocate. Sonnier continued his education and completed his masters degree through Arkansas State University.
The newly appointed principal recognizes his accomplishments, and even still cleans his own office. “Don’t let your situation that you’re in now define what you’re going to become later,” Sonnier told CBS. “I always tell them it’s not where you start, it’s how you finish.”
article by Carrie Healey via thegrio.com