LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- College of Southern Nevada's new student body president shared obstacles he had to overcome to invest in his education.

When Zachary Johnigan was young, he grew up sharing a one bedroom hotel room with his parents, two sister and brother at the Harbor Island Apartments near the Las Vegas Strip.

“The day that we moved in, they had actually found the torso of a woman in one of the hotel rooms, so that lets you kind of know we were about to be living in," Johnigan said.

Johnigan's father was and still works as a shoe shiner for the Wynn.

"He was supporting us, and still supports me throughout my education here. So that’s why I’m trying to do the best that I can, to try and make sure his efforts didn’t go unnoticed and just be a good overall person as far as that is concerned," Johnigan said.

He said he thought about the dangers he faced every day and knew he wanted a change for himself.

“I got my plan together, I said, 'What am I going to do to change? How can I change myself how can I get out of here?' In that planning I decided I’m going to need some type of degree. Some type of education, to move myself out of here," Johnigan said.

He enrolled in CSN where he's studying for a degree in economics, with a financial emphasis.

“I wanted to learn about money, I’ve always had issues with it in my life, so in trying to solve those issues, I thought I would educate myself on money," Johnigan said.

While at school, he said he wanted to get involved somehow for volunteer work. Student government was suggested to him. He was appointed "Henderson senator" and then ran for student body president. 

On Friday, Johnigan was sworn in as CSN's new student body president.

CSN College of Southern Nevada

College of Southern Nevada (CSN) signage is seen in Las Vegas. (Cecil Anderson/FOX5)

“Going from just wanting to volunteer and then going to an elected seat where now I’m in charge of representing 30,000 students is such a big honor," Johnigan said.

Currently he's getting his associate's degree, then plans to transfer to a university.

“I feel like the more educated I am, the more impact I can make in my community. Education is power, so the more education I have, the more ability I’ll have to help others," Johnigan said. 

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