When I was in high school, I thought about college and the experiences that would come along with my education. I grew up in the Humbolt Park area in Chicago and experienced the urban challenges that come with that environment. During my high school years, I excelled in the sport of wrestling and as a result I received several scholarships to prestigious colleges. Unfortunately, because I was the eldest of five and both my parents worked, school was not practical and instead I chose to work in order to help my family. I later joined the United States Marine Corps to serve my country during the “Desert Storm” campaign and to obtain the funds I needed to go to college on my own accord.
After completing my time in the military and working for various companies throughout the years, I went to speak to a counselor at the College of Lake County, who explained that most of my prerequisites were complete and if I was to enroll in their HVAC/R program, I could complete my Associate in Applied Science degree. I knew the industry had a variety of opportunities, so I spoke with Allen Smith, the department head, and was convinced after that conversation that I had finally found my place. I was a student worker for the HVAC/R Engineering Technology department and started the HVAC/R club, as president. I also joined another club, called Men of Vision, and feel I am in a much better place after so many years. Once I graduate, I plan on continuing my education to obtain my bachelor’s degree at the campus college center with SIU, and become an instructor/educator, to give back and give hope to all on the importance of education and finding a career that gives your life direction and meaning.
Support for the Green Facilities Management Program at the College of Lake County was provided by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.