A little story and a personal lifetime accomplishment


So, when I was a kid, I was raised up in a family that didn’t value education at all. They were uber religious (extreme) and all we did was spent our nights and days studying the Bible and going door-to-door pawning Watchtowers and Awakes. (you can guess which religion from this, I’m sure.) Without parental fostering and concern for the importance of education, kids won’t care and they’ll do as little as they can to get pushed through the system. This was me. I graduated High School (not sure how), with a 1.6 GPA.

I landed an awesome job in the US Army at the ripe age of 17 and off to Europe I went. After serving 11 years and being deployed to 4 combat zones, I finally had enough and got out in 2001. I had no college…maybe 1 or 2 college classes taken while in the Army, but honestly I just didn’t have the drive or motivation to do anything related to education. But then, after my Army life, I entered the Civilian sector and found that I couldn’t land the kind of job that the Army taught me to do…so I started out in my current company as an Administrative Assistant back in 2002.

Our oldest son, Devlin was born and I started asking myself…what the hell am I going to tell my kids when they say “How did YOU do in school if you think education is so important?” We have high standards for our kids in that we expect them to “do their best.” We don’t expect all A’s, but we expect them to “do their best.” But how could I say that with a straight face if I didn’t LIVE this myself? So, I set out in 2002 once I joined up with my current company to fix that broken thing in my life. My goal? The same as I ask my kids…to “do my best.”

So, after only 17 years (I say that sarcastically), I am proud that not only did I just complete my Master’s Degree, but I managed to maintain a perfect 4.0 from my very first course all the way through my capstone/thesis course. Now, when I talk to my children, I can show them a tale of two worlds…in the first world, the parents didn’t care and, as a result, neither did I. And my GPA shows that (1.6). But then I can pull out my graduate degree GPA and point to that and emphasize to them what’s possible if you believe in yourself, work hard, and fight for every point. Work ethic is critical and taking personal responsibility and accountability is a must…just like in the workforce.

So, I thought I’d share this because it’s been a goal of mine since childhood to receive any degree (no one in my very large family of 12 has a degree of any type and many of them didn’t even finish High School…my own mom and dad had to get their GED’s after the age of 50.) But to finish my graduate degree and maintain my perfect GPA is a personal conquest that I consider one of my biggest achievements. Night school/classes with family, work and other life events going on wasn’t easy…but I’ve proven to myself and my kids that anything is possible with determination and grit.

I want my kids to take two things from each of their parents…their intelligence definitely comes from Erin…she’s quite possibly one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. But their work ethic I want them to take from me. What I don’t have in intelligence, I more than make up in work ethic.

I’m glad it’s finally over, though!

Just thought I’d share!

Oh, and on a side note, our son, Devlin, a junior this year, has received letters from 3 of the 4 universities that he’s interested in getting into: Caltech, MIT, and Harvard, just a couple days ago. He’s still waiting to get a letter from Stanford. This summer he’ll be busy filling out all the necessary applications for early admissions. He’s hot and heavy into SAT prep and specific Subject Level SAT’s as well as working on completing scholarships so that he can pay as little as possible for his education.

Here’s his letter from Harvard.



Congratulations!!! You must be so proud of yourself and I bet your family is too! What a great story of hard work and resilience. Also a 4.0 ?! :exploding_head:

If Devlin ever wants a recent grad’s perspective on or advice on the college admission’s process or is interested in Georgetown at all for college - don’t be scared to reach out to me!



How fantastic!!! Congratulations and thanks for sharing!!

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Congrats!!! That’s awesome. What an accomplishment!



Congratulations! A master’s degree is a major accomplishment for anyone. Even more so for you! What a great example for your kids and anyone who reads this post!



What an amazing accomplishment! You should be so proud – of yourself and your kiddo!! Kudos.

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Congratulations! What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing!

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@ClaudnDaye. Harold, you deserve many kudos for what you’ve accomplished. But the biggest one is for inculcating these values in your children.

Devlin did not develop his positive attitude all by himself. He saw the success of his parents even before you got the master’s degree.

You and Erin are shining examples. Congratulations!



Gratz to you and Devlin. That’s great stuff!

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That’s so awesome! Congrats!

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Harold, I am so proud of you!!! That is a major accomplishment!!! I hope you have the opportunity to “walk” for your graduation so your kids could see that too. It’s pretty exciting - I love graduations! All of that promise sitting there wrapped in polyester and cardboard hats.

I was just having a conversation this weekend about “doing the work” in whatever part of life needs it - and how bettering oneself can take many forms.

Congratulations, again. Excellent job!



@ClaudnDaye Congratulations on your MASTERS!! What really makes this special is the backstory, thank you for that as well.



Glad you got your masters sorted, you are ready to take on the world now that you have the union card to the super secret advanced degree society. Use the power wisely!

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The funny part is…I don’t even need my Master’s. At least not for my current position. But government contracts have been very wishy-washy lately…lots of RIFs going around the company at present, so having it certainly puts some additional insurance in my back pocket in the event I ever need it.

Thanks everyone!



Harold, I am so impressed with the obstacles you faced while you were younger, and what you have now achieved. I had a similar background with my education, and lack of parent support.
I was very impressed with the letter your son received from Harvard. If he decides to choose another college/university, that might be the first time I have seen someone reject being a Harvard student.
Your children certainly have the intelligence and parental support that they need. There is nothing that will stop them from having a wonderful future!!



Outstanding accomplishments!!!

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Congratulations! That’d be very hard to do. College was much easier right out of high school-I don’t have the discipline to do what you did.

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Fabulous! Fabulous! Fabulous!



Harold, Mazel Tov! Your children are benefiting from what a wonderful role model you are for them!!