'Super-dad' who worked 3 jobs graduates from Montclair State University with master's degree

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Tuesday, May 23, 2023
'Super-dad' who worked 3 jobs graduates with master's degree
A single father worked three jobs while earning his master's from Montclair State University. Anthony Johnson has the story.

NEWARK, New Jersey -- An exceptionally impressive graduate will cross the stage at Montclair State University Tuesday night.

A dad set to receive his master's degree all while working, not one, but three jobs and caring for his son.

So how did he do it all?

Desmond Durham has the will to win, the determination to work hard and leads by example.

This soon-to-be 36-year-old single father is getting his master's degree in educational leadership at Montclair State University.

"I never considered myself being the smartest person but the drive and the determination to keep going," Durham said.

And he's accomplished this goal while teaching during the day to kids, working with adults to help them get their GEDs and in a basketball program for kids. Three jobs and a full-time student.

"Dedication, hard work and long days, long nights, it's the will," Durham said.

He also is the father of a nine-year-old son who watched his dad do it all.

"My son, he's my why and he's the reason why I execute," Durham said. "When he's looking at me I gotta keep moving."

The banner on Montclair State University says "Dream Big. Aim High." Durham has certainly done that and says that excuses are for quitters.

"I knew how much he had on his plate and was impressed with everything he was able to handle and hand in such quality graduate school work," said Rachel Garver, a professor at Montclair State University.

Desmond wants to become a high school principal in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey.

"I just want to be a reflection for my students and a positive light for them," Durham said.

Those who have supported Desmond's journey knew he was special including his elementary school teacher, who became a university professor and his mentor.

"Anything is possible for any kid in Newark. If you go to school, if you apply yourself, keep your head on straight and avoid the pitfalls life has for you, there are great things that can come about," said Matthew Brewster of the Newark Board of Education.

Desmond's mom, family and son will be there for graduation.