A determined, persistent elementary school custodian in DeKalb County, Georgia, showed his peers and the students he cleans up after a thing or two about perseverance recently, as he finally got his long-awaited high school diploma.
We all know that the custodial team is vitally important to the day-to-day operations of any school. They are the behind-the-scenes people that make sure everything is clean, operational, and orderly. For 45-year-old Elmo DeSilva, his goal was to be the head custodian at Indian Creek Elementary School. The only problem was the job required a high-school diploma. No problem! Back to school for DeSilva.
Per Atlanta News First and via Breitbart, DeSilva said this about his long journey: “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,”
DeSilva joined over 40 other adults who also got their high school diplomas during the recent ceremony. However, for DeSilva, it was a long and difficult path that started in his youth. He explained: “I didn’t have the support and the tools I needed as a young teenager to finish high school. You know, life struggles, parenting, you know. I just didn’t have the support system. So coming to Atlanta and being an adult with this program gave me the support that I needed to get the GED,”
DeSilva grew up in Brooklyn, New York, but moved to Atlanta in 2013 and started working as a custodian in 2017. As he grew in the job, he wanted more upward mobility, but the only path was with a diploma, so he set his sights on achieving his goal with the help of his boss, Principal Stephanie Brown-Bryant.
Brown-Bryant hooked him up with the DeKalb County Adult Education Program, and for almost six months, DeSilva attended night classes two times a week. It was difficult, but DeSilva did not want to disappoint his principal, so he powered through.
DeSilva talked about what led to this point and how helping raise his siblings was priority one over school when he was young: “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,”
Sadly, that is not an unusual situation for some folks. To DeSilva’s credit, he never played the victim and recognized that the path forward was through hard work and education. DeSilva’s co-workers have noted his work ethic and have nothing but good things to say.
The school’s plant engineer, Henry Williams, had nothing but good things to say about DeSilva, calling him “an awesome guy” who is on time, reliable, and a great co-worker.
DeSilva’s principal has already endorsed him for the promotion. She said: “To be honest, I’ve already recommended him for the position.”
Elmo DeSilva is exactly what can happen if a person puts aside the victim mentality and focuses on bettering himself and his family. With education, a little help from friends, and some luck, anyone can improve their station in life, and DeSilva is living proof.
Featured image credit: screen shot from embedded YouTube video
"*" indicates required fields