From Hard Times to Harvard: The John Zachary Danao Story

February 12 12:26 2018

Boston, MA – John Zachary Danao graduates from Harvard University this year. Having survived all odds in becoming the person he is today, Danao is looking back on his experiences with mixed emotions. That being said, he feels it’s important to share his story and hopefully become an inspiration to others who might feel disadvantaged in life.

“If there’s one piece of advice I can offer, it’s that we all have an equal opportunity for success,” says Danao. “Where you come from is irrelevant. You can’t blame anyone else for how you end up in life. The only person preventing you from being successful is you!”

Growing up with his single father in California, life was tough. As soon as he was old enough, Danao took on a part-time job to help put food on the table. He and his father moved several times, from California to Nevada, and then to New Jersey, at which point things started to hit rock bottom. Unable to find work, they were forced to sell off their meager belongings in order not to starve.

“We were so poor, some people looked down on us and wouldn’t give us so much as the time of day,” recalls Danao. “At that point in my life, I would have thought it impossible for someone like me to get into any school, let alone Harvard.”

Finally, after many long months searching, Danao was hired as a front manager by a Vietnamese restaurant.  Working 13-hour days, 7 days a week, 17-year old Danao was determined to make himself productive and get ahead. And then at the age of 18, he became assistant manager at the Terra Momo Bread Company in Princeton.

Danao diligently divided up his paycheck at the end of each month.

“Half of my ѕаlаrу went to my father, 30% went to the hоmеlеѕѕ, and the remaining 20% I kept for myself.”

And that remaining 20% was stashed away for college tuition, which came in very useful when Danao was accepted into Front Range Community College in Colorado, where he studied Psychology, majoring in Human Learning Behavior.

At the age of 19, he realized his dreams and was accepted into Harvard University and Harvard Business School.

“All my hard work had paid off. Now I was in a position to really help my father financially,” Danao comments. “Now I spend my time serving God and helping people in need. It’s my way of giving back.”

But this young achiever has plenty of advice for anyone who’ll listen.

“Your life is in your own hands, and your future success can never be determined by your present situation. It’s actually easier to achieve success when you’re uncomfortable, because comfort is likely to hold you back.

“It all starts in the mind. Keep yourself updated, and always surround yourself with positive people!”

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City: Boston
State: MA
Country: United States