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Richard Daye starts carpentry career to support his sons

Carpentry Program Graduate

The brutal civil war and economic unrest in Cote d’Ivoire displaced 300,000 Ivorians and 44,000 refugees (Rescue.org). Richard Daye ‘22 is among those impacted. Born in 1998, Daye spent his childhood running from the civil war with his parents. With a certificate in Carpentry from Summit Academy OIC, Daye has a sense of pride and fulfillment, knowing he has a solid career foundation to provide a better life for his two sons.


Daye described himself as a “rough kid” who enjoyed taking apart his toys to see what was inside. Before attending Summit, Daye worked various odd jobs. “I used to drive Uber, Lyft, do janitorial cleaning, lawn care, just anything that would get money in my pocket so that I could take care of my family,” said Daye.


One day, Daye drove by Summit’s campus on Olson Memorial Highway and recognized the building from the commercials he heard on the morning radio. He stopped in, passed the entrance exam, and decided there was no looking back. “I feel that [Summit] was the only opportunity to improve myself. I can’t come from worse, and I come [to the United States] and do worse. I need to continue to progress in life and do what I have to make my parents proud or to get a better life for my children and me,” said Daye.


During his 20 weeks in Summit’s carpentry program, Daye seized every opportunity and participated in the hands-on building project at the Steger Wilderness Center. For over a decade, carpentry students have traveled to Ely, Minnesota, to experience cutting-edge environmental design alongside skilled craftspeople at the Steger Center. “I would say that Steger was a very life-changing experience. I have never been camping since I’ve been in the U.S.,” said Daye. “Living for a week completely away from family, just doing things in nature, and learning something new was a great experience, and I will never forget about it.”


Currently, Daye works as a carpenter at Carpenters Contractors Company. He ultimately wants to establish his own family business and work alongside his sons. Undoubtedly, Daye’s life experience and job training at Summit reinforced his philosophy that personal success depends on oneself. “Nobody can help you unless you’re willing to help yourself. I took it upon myself to go to school,” said Daye. “It was tough going through [classes], but seeing my skills now, I don’t think anything can hold me back.”

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