School Custodian Shares How He Defied All Odds to Go Back to School at 45 to Earn Diploma


Elmo Desilva, a custodian for the Clarkston Public Schools at Indian Creek Elementary School, was considering a promotion to chief custodian earlier this year. But he needed a high school diploma to be recommended for such a job.

Thank goodness, Stephanie Brown-Bryant, the head of his school, informed him about the DeKalb County Adult studies Program, and he enrolled to enhance his studies.Desilva persevered despite the hardship of having to attend night lessons twice a week for almost six months because he detested “failing at something” and didn’t want to let his superiors down.

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.

Considering his past, Desilva is beyond proud. Young Desilva had to work extra hard to take care of his siblings because he came from an unstable family where his parents weren’t always around. As a result, he had to put off finishing his schooling.

“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.

Desilva now thinks that if he is promoted to head custodian, it will give him more opportunities and allow him to support his family and make retirement plans.Meanwhile, he has received a job recommendation from the principal of the school.

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