Ronald Praet, Jr.

I’m a fourth-year sports and fitness management major who realized the value of a college education while growing up in a low-income family. The first in my family to pursue a four-year college degree, I’ve experienced many financial and academic challenges. Because of my upbringing, my college journey has been more on the non-traditional side. I was enrolled in public education until seventh grade, when my parents pulled me out to be home-schooled. It was also my responsibility to help take care of my two siblings, father, and the family home, while my mother took care of elderly members of our family.

It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I was able to go to L’Anse Creuse Adult Education School to get my high school diploma. I received a partial scholarship from the school to attend Macomb Community College where I took courses for a few years, while continuing to help my family at home. I completed my associate degree in computer electronics engineering at ITT Technical Institute. Later, I attended Wayne State University to pursue a career that I would love. But I found it difficult to stay focused on school while the demands of home were ever present.

Now I’m enrolled at Michigan Tech. I felt at home here from the minute I stepped on campus. I knew right away that this was where I would be able to focus and make my dream of getting a four-year degree come true. My career goal—working my way up to one day becoming a coach in the National Hockey League—was finally within reach.

At age 32 I joined the National Guard, even though I would have to take a year off to fulfill my military obligations. My Tech spirit and work ethic allowed me to push harder when I found adversity. I made the Dean’s List that semester, and I graduated boot camp with highest honors. I have three semesters left before I get to walk across the stage to receive my diploma.

While attending one of my first hockey games here at Tech, I met a woman named Allison. That was almost three-and-a-half years ago. We’ve been together ever since. I wanted to begin the new chapter in our lives where it all began.

#mtuhumans #shesaidyes


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