Julio moved from Florida to the Chicago area, finally settling in Hobart, IN and worked as a carpet installer for a year and half. He hadn’t quite finished high school when he left Florida, and after working for some time, decided that he wanted to complete high school to attain a better future for himself. He started school at Gary Middle College without a car and while he was not working—but he was so determined to complete high school, that he walked two and a half hours each way to and from school, just to complete his diploma.
When Gary Middle College found out that Julio was walking 2.5 hours each way, they gave him a free bus pass to help with transportation, but Julio still had to walk 45 minutes each way. He made the walk no matter what—rain, snow, cold, or sunny weather. “It was hard sometimes, but I didn’t want to give up. I had a son on the way, and I wanted to graduate high school before he was born. Thanks to Gary Middle College, I was able to do that. My son’s mother is so proud of the fact that I worked so hard to finish high school.” Julio had another challenge in the way of earning his high school diploma. “I have a learning disability, and with the long walk and my learning disability, it would have been easy for me to give up. At first, I didn’t care, but eventually I realized, I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to prove to the people out there that it was worth it for me to get my high school diploma.”
Julio was also able to help himself push through school when he got a part-time job and was able to save up and buy a lap-top for himself so that he could get a lot of school work done at home as well, and cut down on his walking time.
When asked how his experience at GMC was, Julio responded—“It was difficult sometimes, especially with the long walk, but my English teacher, Ms. Glenn, and my Math teacher, Mr. Frank always helped me and were there for me. They helped me pass my ECAs so I could graduate. I’ve never been prouder of myself than now.” Julio is now looking into getting his commercial drivers license and trying to be the best dad he possibly can.