For recent Kearny High School graduate Gustavo Pacheco, 21, growing up has been a long and winding road. From Sao Paulo, Brazil, to NJIT Gustavo has travelled when in less than two weeks on May 15, 2012 at NJIT’s 2012 Commencement, this newly-hatched business major will march to success adorned with a medal around his neck.Not that the trek has been easy. Brazilian life had its rough edge—violence and poverty still devastates much of the nation, he says. Once in the US, starting a new school in fifth grade with marginal English language skills and both parents out of work wasn’t easy. But persevere all four members of the family did.
Today, Ivete, his mom, is a hostess for NJIT’s Gourmet Dining Services; his dad, once a manager for a large Brazilian company, drives a truck. And the once quiet boy embraces adulthood through a new set of academic eyes.
“When I left high school, I wasn’t focused,” he recently explained. “My 3.0 GPA was not great. I was confused. I didn’t have a plan.” Today, he awaits his last semester’s grades feeling there’s a good chance he’ll make summa cum laude. Next month he takes a test hoping to pass and receive a project management certification so he’s have the credentials to manage information technology projects around the world.
“My life is an open book now,” he adds. “Anything can happen.”