Joseph “Gabe” Sonnier dropped out of Southern University in Baton Rouge after his freshman year, and went to work to help support his mom and four siblings. After some time, he found himself married with kids of his own. He took a job as a custodian at Port Barre Elementary School. He thought he would have that job for the rest of his life.
But when his work took him into classrooms, he observed what was happening there, and found within him a desire to teach. Then one day:
Sonnier’s feelings about becoming a teacher were reinforced when Principal Albert August approached Sonnier with an observation.
“I was a student of his when Mr. August taught Louisiana history and he knew I had always been a good student. One day Mr. August came to me here at school and said, ‘Gabe, you know you should be grading papers rather than picking them up,’ ” Sonnier said.
August provided some assistance, helping arrange Sonnier’s custodial workload so he could attend LSU at Eunice.
“I would get to school at 5 a.m. and then leave at 7 a.m. to get to LSU-Eunice. After classes, I would come back at 8:30 p.m. and work the rest of my hours, usually until around midnight. Then I would go home and do homework and get two or three hours of sleep,” Sonnier said.
Read the entire amazing story. You’ll be astonished at what this janitor went on to achieve through hard work and persistence. What a man, Mr. Gabe! Pass this on; everybody should know about him and celebrate him.