Janitor for 27 Years, Now School’s Principal!


In Porte Barre, Louisiana, Joseph “Gabe” Sonnier has become a living inspiration for all. The one time janitor of Porte Barre elementary is now the principal of the SAME school. According to CBS News, Sonnier was motivated to become an educator because of the influential words of the principal, at the time, Westley Jones. Mr. Jones told Gabe  ” I’d rather see you grading papers, then picking them up”, Sonnier told reporters. Likewise, that was enough motivation to get the tenacious janitor the inspiration and courage to pursue an education degree.

At the age of 39, Sonnier cleaned Porte Barre elementary while studying, in his spare time, to earn his degree. Eventually earning his undergraduate degree, Sonnier soon landed a teaching job. Shortly after earning his teaching job, however, Sonnier continued his education to earn his Masters Degree from Arkansas State University. The culmination of Sonnier’s accolades made him a worthy candidate to become principal in which he rightfully earned. Sonnier told reporters that he still isn’t content with his position at principal; he has goals to become a superintendent one day.

This story is just another example of how the motivation of someone can be manifested through people who recognize one’s potential. Westley Jones, the one time school principal, made a difference in a janitor who now is making a difference for many children in Louisiana. However, it was not a coincidence that this occurred. Sonnier always had the tenacity of becoming someone successful. Sonnier just needed someone to help manifest his potential. In society, I believe there are many “Joseph Sonniers”. Many people are capable of doing unimaginable things, but how many have the exposure or guidance to do so? When more people come to the realization of innate ability of becoming someone successful, society will inevitably make it that much easier for a younger generation to become influential for the next generation.