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Seizing The American Dream: From Janitor To Ivy-League Graduate

There are few stories as sweet as that of Gac Filipaj. He's a 52-year-old refugee who emmigrated from a war-torn former Yugoslavia to work as a janitor at one of America's premiere universities.

It took him seven years to learn English and gain acceptance into Columbia, where he received free tuition because he's an employee. As the AP reports, he took classes in the morning, then worked 2:30-to-11 p.m as a "heavy cleaner," and when he got home after midnight he would hit the books.

Sunday, after 12-years of study, he received a bachelor's in classics and he graduated with honors.

"This is a man with great pride, whether he's doing custodial work or academics," Peter Awn, dean of Columbia's School of General Studies, told the AP. "He is immensely humble and grateful, but he's one individual who makes his own future."

Congrats, Mr. Filipaj, who says his next move is a graduate degree.

Here's Al-Jazeera's report of his graduation:

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Poetry Behind Bars: The Lines That Save Lives — Sometimes Literally

Words Unlocked, a poetry contest for juveniles in corrections, has drawn more than 1,000 entries. Its judge, Jimmy Santiago Baca, says it was a poetry book that helped him survive his own prison term.
NPR

When It Came To Food, Neanderthals Weren't Exactly Picky Eaters

During the Ice Age, it seems Neanderthals tended to chow down on whatever was most readily available. Early humans, on the other hand, maintained a consistent diet regardless of environmental changes.
NPR

Trump And Cruz Campaign At California GOP Convention

The remaining Republican presidential candidates have been making their case at the party's state convention. Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler explains the divisions on display among Republicans.
NPR

'The Guardian' Launches New Series Examining Online Abuse

A video was released this week where female sports journalists were read abusive online comments to their face. It's an issue that reaches far beyond that group, and The Guardian is taking it on in a series called "The Web We Want." NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with series editor Becky Gardiner and writer Nesrine Malik, who receives a lot of online abuse.

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