Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Lafayette School Custodian to Graduate with Bachelor’s After 9-Year Journey

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor


Video from the Lafayette County School District

No matter how long a journey takes toward reaching a dream, every step is worth it.

That’s a message that Lafayette Upper Elementary custodian Keunte Hill hopes others learn from his story of achieving a nine-year goal.

Keunte Hill, left, with his son and wife, Jessica. Hill, a custodian with the Lafayette County School District is graduating with his bachelor’s degree Saturday from the University of Mississippi. Photo provided

Hill, 32, will be graduating from the University of Mississippi on Saturday with his bachelor’s degree in general studies with an emphasis on business marketing.

Born and raised mostly in Oxford, Hill left Oxford as a teenager and graduated high school from the Victory Christian Academy in Columbus.

Five years later in 2014, he started taking classes at North West Mississippi Community College while working at The Inn at Ole Miss as a housekeeper/maintenance worker. After two years, he was able to begin working on his bachelor’s degree at Ole Miss in 2016 while continuing to work at The Inn.

“I want people to understand that it’s never too late,” Hill told Hotty Toddy News. “As long as you keep trying.”

Working full-time, getting married and having a son kept Hill busy and he admits, he sometimes struggled with classes.

“I failed a couple and sometimes I couldn’t afford to pay for classes so I’d have to wait,” he said.

In March 2022, Hill took a job as a custodian at Lafayette Upper Elementary School. Earlier this week, the school celebrated with Hill. He donned his cap and gown and walked through the halls as students, faculty and staff applauded and congratulated him.

“That was honestly one of the best moments of my life,” he said. “The kids really made me feel special. I was emotional and I wanted them to see that it doesn’t matter how old you are or what you look like or what you do. I just hope that I am an inspiration to them. I want them to know that no matter what life throws at you, you just keep pushing.”

To make the weekend even more special, Hill will share it with his wife, Jessica, who is also graduating with her master’s degree in higher education.

Hill said that right now he has no immediate plans to work on his own master’s degree.

“You never know down the road I could change my mind but for right now, no,” he said.

The graduate plans on celebrating with his family this weekend.

“They’ve always been very supportive,” he said.