It is never too late to have dreams and establish new life goals. In the case of Gabe Sonnier, who toiled arduously to get where he is now, this is particularly true!

At Port Barre Elementary, Gabe Sonnier performed janitorial duties. He was happy with how his life was going until the school’s Principal approached him and gave him some advice. Gabe’s life was forever changed in 1985 when Principal Westley told him, “I’d rather see you grading papers than gathering them up.”


Gabe left this conversation with a mission he was determined to carry out. He devoted the following few years to learning when he was 39.

Sonnier remembers, “I would start working at like five in the morning, leave at seven, go to school all day, come back and finish my eight hours here, then go home and do homework.”


He completed his teaching degree gradually, and in 2008 he was hired as a teacher at Port Barre Elementary. He continued to earn a Masters from Arkansas State University after earning his teaching credential.


After nearly three decades of cleaning the same school, Gabe Sonnier finally took the helm as Principal in 2013 after 27 years of cleaning! He still cleans his own office despite being the Principal!

Regarding improving one’s life, he advises, “Don’t let your current situation determine what you’re going to become later.”

A person with a flag in the background Description automatically generated with low confidence

“I always tell them it’s not where you start; it’s how you finish,” he continued.

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