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Beacon GED graduate setting example for his children

By PAULETTE LeBLANC - | Apr 28, 2021

pleblanc@breezenewspapers.com

Two years ago Salvatore Cammilleri took his test and got a general equivalency diploma after studying at the Beacon of Hope.

Unlike many Beacon GED graduates, Cammilleri is not a teenager. In fact, he’s not even in his 20s. Cammilleri is a businessman and loving father of four who wanted to set an example about staying the course for his children. Coming up on his 10th anniversary of owning Pine Island Plumbing, Cammilleri felt, although he was already a business owner, he should go back and graduate.

“Getting my GED was always on the back-burner,” said Cammilleri. “I didn’t want to have any regrets, and I had an opportunity to go work for the county as a plumbing inspector. One of the requirements was having a diploma.”

Although he landed the county job, Cammilleri admits he felt his true calling was to be an island business owner. He said he doesn’t regret it though, as it was important to show his kids that he was a high school graduate.

“It’s never too late,” said Cammilleri. “When they called my name and I walked across that stage, it was just an amazing feeling.”

The Beacon of Hope holds a special place in his heart, he says, not only because they helped him complete his schooling, but because of its vital role on the island.

“I always try to donate when I can because I know how much they do for the community. They’re so unselfish,” said Cammilleri. “The GED program they run over there is absolutely amazing, from making sure you’re fed to the books they provide.”

Owning your own business is not always what it’s cracked up to be, he says, admitting there were times money was exceptionally tight, especially when he had to make payroll for a 16-man crew.

“I try to set my standard high,” said Cammilleri. “Some people just work for a paycheck and the quality of work is not there. You can schedule an 8-hour day and you might get 4 to 5 hours out of someone.”

Now that Cammilleri has his GED, he says many avenues have opened to him.

“My kids have seen me struggle as a single dad for many years, and now my daughter is a 4.0 student getting ready to go to college for criminal justice. At the end of the day, it was always a regret in the back of my mind that I didn’t graduate, and I thought it was a disappointment to my father, who wasn’t here to see me walk the stage, although I felt he was watching over me, but my mom was there. It was a big accomplishment to show my kid — that it’s more than just a piece of paper, and it’s important that we finish.”