Sylvania Schools employee receives college degree after 30 years of persistence
At 67-years of age, Leon Grace used perseverance and achieved his dream by obtaining his Bachelor of Liberal Studies Degree from Bowling Green State University's College of Arts and Sciences.
"Before I walked across the stage, I started crying. It's a dream come true."
The paraprofessional received his diploma from BGSU earlier this month.
"I'm glad that I pursued it, and I hope to continue my education. It was just like walking on air."
It took him more than 30 years to finish his lifelong dream.
Having multiple jobs before joining the Sylvania Schools staff more than 15 years ago, Grace was unable to take classes full time.
"Mr. Leon," as he's known to the students, began as a substitute custodian and eventually became a paraprofessional with the special education department.
"They're like a family. The kids, the students are like my own family and my own kids. I enjoy working with them. They're fun. I've learned a lot from them and I hope they've learned a lot from me."
His patience, perseverance and passion paid off, and it also rubbed off on his fellow staff members at Southview High School.
"The types of students that might take up, seems like, all of your energy to get through the day, Leon always had more energy to give back to that kid and give back to other students. He always had a smile for me when I was going by," said Principal Kasey Vens.
Grace says his next goal is to pursue a Master's Degree.
He was the oldest out of BGSU's summer graduates.