nb_cid nb_clickOther -tt-nb this.style.behavior='url(#default#homepage)';this.setHomePage('http://www.aol.com/?mtmhp=acm50ieupgradebanner_112313 network-banner-empty upgradeBanner
Search AOL Mail
AOL Mail
AOL Favorites

Man goes from janitor to school principal

Man Goes from Janitor to School Principal

Joseph 'Gabe' Sonnier seems at home as the principal of Port Barre Elementary School, but the story of how he got there is an unusual one. CBS reports that he used to be a janitor at the school. It all began back in 1985, when he was pulled aside by the current principal Westley Jones.

'He said 'I'd rather see you grading papers,'' Sonnier said. 'I took it to heart.'

At 39, Sonnier studied when he wasn't working.

Last November, he proudly became principal. One WJXT anchor said Sonnier is a living example of perseverance.

'He had dropped out of Southern University in 1979 to help his mother make ends meet. He never gave up. The new principal said he's still in awe of all his accomplishments, and it was that one opportunity,' WJXT reported.

The Advocate explains Sonnier would work from 5-7 in the morning, then go to classes. After that, he'd come back and put in the rest of his hours as a janitor. Then, he'd do homework and get a few hours of sleep. This was all on top of having a family!

Sonnier says it's not about where you start, but where you finish -- and he might not be finished yet: there's still that superintendent position he can shoot for. Oh, and Sonnier still cleans his own office.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
soupermom2 February 13 2014 at 10:22 AM

A good example for everyone.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
Im ShopRat25 February 13 2014 at 11:03 AM

Just goes to show that if you work hard for something it can be achieved.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
fvbrendag February 13 2014 at 10:52 AM

This gives us faith in the future. America is still alive even though some people try to make us think we are weak without the governments help. It takes a want and a satisfaction in personal growth. This is a great story.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
rcalley1 February 13 2014 at 11:24 AM

Way to go Gabe, it again simple goes to prove that personal responsibility always shines compared to the take attitude many people have today.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Judi Klein February 13 2014 at 11:15 AM

This is so inspiring. Should be mandatory reading in all schools...Hard work and keeptoitness pays

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Timmo February 13 2014 at 11:53 AM

Good for you Gabe, you're an inspiration to all

Flag Reply +3 rate up
linxwind February 13 2014 at 10:47 AM

This is a good old-fashioned success story !!!!!

Flag Reply +10 rate up
melsuitmart February 13 2014 at 10:42 AM

This is a blessing to hear. His story can inspire us all. God Bless him and his family.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
leecadena01 February 13 2014 at 10:34 AM


Flag Reply +9 rate up
hoscarkay February 13 2014 at 11:12 AM

Very inspiring story to young and old.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
aol~~ 1209600


More From Our Partners