WATCH — Custodian Returns to High School to Earn Diploma: ‘It Wasn’t Easy’

A smart and dedicated school custodian in DeKalb County, Georgia, finally got his long-awaited high school diploma on Friday.

“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,” 45-year-old Elmo DeSilva said of his hard work, per Atlanta News First.

The custodian for Indian Creek Elementary School in Clarkston joined over 40 other adults who also got their high school diplomas during the recent ceremony.

Video footage shows the graduates wearing royal blue gowns lined up for the big event.

A few months ago, DeSilva set his sights on becoming the head custodian on campus; however, the only thing missing from his resume was a high school diploma.

When Principal Stephanie Brown-Bryant learned about his situation, she had him join the DeKalb County Adult Education Program to help him achieve his goal.

For almost six months, DeSilva attended night classes two times a week and worked extremely hard because he did not want to disappoint his manager.

DeSilva grew up in Brooklyn, New York, then moved to Atlanta in 2013 and started working as a custodian in 2017.

“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,” he explained:

In his teenage years, DeSilva helped care for his younger siblings.

“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.

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.

Meanwhile, the promotion would benefit DeSilva’s family and also be good for his retirement.

Brown-Bryant said of the potential promotion that it was very likely he will be the candidate.

“To be honest, I’ve already recommended him for the position,” she added.


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