But not until he was working in the Dominican Republic and met a vacationing Plainfield family did Pierre, now a graduate from Joliet Junior College (2017) and Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2019), attain his dream.
By high school, Pierre found a job at a "very well-equipped" automotive shop in Haiti, the best way to obtain some practical experience, he said. But the shop owner ordered his technical manuals from the United States, and the English Pierre had learned wasn't enough to comprehend them, he said.
"I thought I knew English but it was enough to understand these books. There were a lot of technical words," Pierre said. "I decided to go to leave the shop and go to English school to learn English. It took me four years to learn it."
After the 2010 earthquake, Pierre's brother, who lived in the Dominican Republic and knew Pierre's dream, encouraged Pierre to move near him. But Pierre had returned to work in the shop and didn't want to go.
"He said, 'So look for a shop here,'" Pierre said.
Eventually, Pierre's brother encouraged Pierre to find better-paying work using his English so Pierre could save money and come to the United States and study. So Pierre went to Punta Cana and worked as an English teacher.
But that didn't pay well, so Pierre found work at a five-star hotel selling excursion packages and started saving money, he said. That's how he met Allison Glodoski and her family.