LIFE

Janitor Graduates From The College He Cleaned Up After Nearly A Decade

emerald by Emerald Pellot
Emerald is a writer, illustrator, and a Libra.

It was the recession. It hit so many folks, so hard. Michael Vaudreuil and his wife were some of them. In 2007, Michael’s plastering business went under. He lost his house, his business, his car, and he began to lose hope. He took the only job that was available to him, a job as a custodian at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. There is certainly no shame in doing what you have to do to support your family, but Michael’s heart was just not in it.

Then ,Michael discovered there was a perk with his custodian job. Employees could take free classes. He knew this was his last chance to work toward something bigger, so he took it. Michael liked to work with his hands, so he took a mechanical engineering class. It clicked. He knew this was what he was meant to do. With his new knowledge, Michael designed his own portable fuel dispenser. If that sounds complicated, it’s because it is. This is no simple task or easy work. At 54, after eight years of studying, Michael graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. It was no small feat to build something from nothing, not just the fuel dispenser, but a new life for himself and his wife.

During the graduation ceremony, Michael’s mortarboard read, “Old dog has new tricks.” We couldn’t have said it better.

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