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KC man who grew up homeless now in engineering program

Engineering school has always been a dream for Jaacob Pledger. He’s now a junior at Embry-Riddle’s aerospace engineering program in Arizona. He said that dream was born in Kansas City.”All my life, all I saw was myself being as an engineer, designing and building things,” Pledger said.Most people know Pledger, 20, as a standout student and president of the Black Student Alliance on campus. They don’t know he was homeless while growing up in Kansas City.”We were staying in hotels or we had to stay with family or there would be times where we had no place to stay at all so it’d be in between a car when it was between school and go into work,” he said.Pledger said the challenges he and his family faced only made them stronger. And he said that never once did he think it would hold him back. That’s the message he shares with others who are struggling now.”A moment is not a lifetime. You may be going through a bad moment, but this bad moment doesn’t mean that the rest of your life will be like that,” Pledger said.At the university, he’s part of a program that combines his love of engineering with his desire to work with people.”I’ll be the person that if something went wrong with a plane that someone’s flying and someone designed, it’ll be my job to find the problem,” Pledger said.He said life hasn’t always been easy but he’s proud to tell his story.”Any chance that I have to impact someone’s life positively or to help someone’s life for the better, that is when I feel accomplished,” Pledger said.He said the tougher life got, the harder his parents worked and that has always inspired him. Pledger said his dream now is to one day start his own business in aeronautics.

Engineering school has always been a dream for Jaacob Pledger. He’s now a junior at Embry-Riddle’s aerospace engineering program in Arizona. He said that dream was born in Kansas City.

“All my life, all I saw was myself being as an engineer, designing and building things,” Pledger said.

Most people know Pledger, 20, as a standout student and president of the Black Student Alliance on campus. They don’t know he was homeless while growing up in Kansas City.

“We were staying in hotels or we had to stay with family or there would be times where we had no place to stay at all so it’d be in between a car when it was between school and go into work,” he said.

Pledger said the challenges he and his family faced only made them stronger. And he said that never once did he think it would hold him back. That’s the message he shares with others who are struggling now.

“A moment is not a lifetime. You may be going through a bad moment, but this bad moment doesn’t mean that the rest of your life will be like that,” Pledger said.

At the university, he’s part of a program that combines his love of engineering with his desire to work with people.

“I’ll be the person that if something went wrong with a plane that someone’s flying and someone designed, it’ll be my job to find the problem,” Pledger said.

He said life hasn’t always been easy but he’s proud to tell his story.

“Any chance that I have to impact someone’s life positively or to help someone’s life for the better, that is when I feel accomplished,” Pledger said.

He said the tougher life got, the harder his parents worked and that has always inspired him. Pledger said his dream now is to one day start his own business in aeronautics.


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