“This country took a chance on someone who had nothing, and it has blessed me to be who I am,” Bertine says. “I look at it as my civic duty, my responsibility, to give back that way.”
I can't believe I'm a principal!
Bertine’s first job was at Burger King, where he started taking out the garbage and progressively moved up the ladder to become a cashier. “I always challenged myself to the next thing,” Bertine says. “I had been given a chance to live a new life, to educate myself, and I wanted to get the best out of it.”
Bertine did so well in school that he was offered a scholarship to study at University of Wyoming. He knew very little about the rural state and when he would tell his friends about it, everyone misunderstood where he was headed. “Are you going to Miami?” they would ask.
But soon Wyoming became home for Bertine. At university he met his wife, and after graduating in mathematics and math education he became a high school teacher in Gillette. He now has two children and is the principal of Rawhide Elementary School.