PBSC grad shares story of perseverance

May 2021

Fadino Jean Louis spent much of his formative years struggling in class.

 Students mocked him, and teachers gave up on him.

“In elementary school I used to never be smart. Every teacher thought I would never be smart. Everybody kept saying I was too slow. You can’t do this. You can’t do that. Just give up. I never made an A-B Honor Roll. I always got perfect attendance. I was so ashamed of that,” recalled Jean Louis. “I almost did give up. My mom kept saying ‘don’t listen to those people. You got this.’ Ever since then, I kept trying to succeed.” And, succeed he did.

Jean Louis, who was diagnosed with a speech disability in elementary school, is among Palm Beach State College’s more than 2,600 spring graduates, and he plans to participate in Grad Walk to celebrate his achievement. Earning his Associate in Arts degree with a 3.7 grade point average represents the power of hard work, perseverance and a strong support system.

After his rocky start in a public elementary school, Jean Louis’ mother enrolled him in a private middle school where he received more comprehensive support from teachers. He began to flourish and made the A-B Honor Roll for the first time, an achievement he continued. He said he received that same level of attention and support from teachers at Somerset Academy Key Middle/High School, a public charter school in Deerfield Beach where he completed his high school diploma. “My sixth-grade teacher was helping me through everything,’’ he said. “My seventh-grade teacher told me I was the hardest working person she ever met.”

After graduating from high school in 2018, Jean Louis enrolled at PBSC’s Boca Raton campus and later registered with the Center for Student Accessibility, which provides accommodations and support for students with disabilities to ensure equal access to a quality education.

“I always try to not let my disability get me down. A disability is not something to be down about,’’ Jean Louis said. “You’re just a normal person; you just learn differently from other people. You still can do everything else. If another person can do it in one day, and you can do it in three days, that’s good. You can still do it; you just have to do it on your own terms.”

At PBSC, Jean Louis took advantage of tutoring and other services and continued to work hard. “Everything I do, I give 110 percent, even in college,’’ he said. “I used to go to math tutoring lab and stay there three to four hours while other students stay one or two hours.”

Jean Louis will continue his education at PBSC this summer to earn a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Supervision and Management with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. He hopes to create his own business to help people in need.

He said he is thankful for his mom, a single mother who raised him as her only child, and the teachers who provided the extra support he needed. “I proved everybody wrong,’’ he said. “My mom always gave me the support I needed. Even if I’m down she says ‘you can do this. Focus on you. I believe in you.’ ’’

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