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'You can do anything you want' page 3
Within five years, Spotsylvania County man goes from being a high school dropout to a corporate trainer with two college degrees

 The past few years have been 'like a whirlwind' for Michael Pulley, son Jackson and wife Amanda. Pulley juggled multiple jobs while pursuing two college degrees, and Jackson, 4, had surgery for a heart murmur.
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Date published: 12/29/2012


His bachelor of liberal arts in interdisciplinary studies entailed a "buffet of courses" in a condensed time frame. He studied a mixture of art and history, business and science.

He read everything from the poems of Chaucer to the leadership style of Abraham Lincoln.

"There were nights he didn't go to bed," Amanda said. "I remember calling my mom and saying, 'He stayed up all night studying. I don't know how he's going to stay awake all day.' "

Amanda's mother remembers those conversations.

"His plate was definitely overflowing," said Rainville, a well-known portrait photographer.

Rainville has two daughters and said she considers Michael the son she never had. She knows how hard he worked--and how fortunate he was to have "the best cheerleader" at his side.

Amanda, who cheered competitively at Massaponax, encouraged Michael to keep going, when the schedule of classes, tests and reading assignments--and work shifts--were overwhelming.

"She is annoyingly persistent," Michael said, smirking.

Michael got several scholarships, but will pay off the rest--which totals about $22,000--through student loans.


There were times when Michael was ready to take off a semester and Amanda urged him to keep going, saying "you're so close."

Some mornings, he had to ask her what he had to do that day because his activities were such a blur.

Amanda, who works as an insurance agent in her father's office, knows something about college degrees. She earned a bachelor's at Virginia Commonwealth University and finished a master's from the University of Mary Washington while she was pregnant.

She said both experiences paled in comparison to the schedule Michael kept.

"The day I graduated with my master's doesn't compare to how proud I was of him when he got his bachelor's," she said. "He had to work so much harder to get where he got.

"I always knew he could do it," Amanda added.


About six months after Michael lost his mechanic's job, a friend mentioned that Sprint was hiring and urged Michael to apply.

His self-confidence dipped again, and he put off calling because he didn't want to fail.

When he got up the nerve to apply, he was hired as a sales and service specialist at Adcomm Digitel, a Sprint third-party retail store.

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INSPIRATION is an occasional series about people who encourage others with their kindness, courage or perseverance.