"This is a big accomplishment for our family... We started strong and we finish strong," said Iesha Gully.
A father and his two children recently celebrated crossing a milestone in their education together.
Commondre Cole, son Ja'Coby Cole, and daughter Iesha Gully graduated together from a branch of Mississippi State University, each earning a master's degree in education. They were among the 153 graduates at MSU-Meridian's spring commencement last week, reports ABC News. "This is a big accomplishment for our family. Just to keep driving and keep going forward and to lead by example and to show my younger siblings and the rest of my family that we can do it," Gully, who teaches at Northeast Elementary in the Lauderdale County School District, told WTOK.
At MSU-Meridian’s commencement today, father Commondre Cole, his daughter Lesha Gully and his son Ja’Coby Cole all graduated with their Master of Arts in Teaching, Secondary Teacher Alternate Route degrees. MSU supports the program’s aim of preparing more qualified educators. pic.twitter.com/q79Au0v7uW— Sid Salter (@sidsalter) May 12, 2022
"We started strong and we finish strong," she added. Ja'Coby, who teaches at Oakland Heights Elementary in the Meridian Public School District, admitted that he never thought he would become a teacher right away. "I wouldn't say it was planned because I started out playing sports," he said. "I never thought I'd become a teacher just right away. I knew I'd have to have a backup plan so I thought about my mom, my dad's and my sister's footsteps. They're all educators and I thought it'd be best for me to follow in their footsteps."
Commondre Cole revealed that his wife, Jessica Gully-Cole—who also teaches—encouraged him to return to college with their children. "Really my wife, she already has her specialist," said Cole, who teaches at Northwest Middle School, which is also in the Meridian Public School District. "She said you might as well go back to school with the kids. I decided to go back with them and we accomplished this and we're all walking together." A number of parents consider the prospect of continuing their education even after having kids. In fact, according to Parents, over 20 percent of U.S. college undergraduates are parents.
A father and his two children have graduated together from a branch of Mississippi State University, each earning a master's degree in education https://t.co/sehzDZzMGK— Yahoo (@Yahoo) May 15, 2022
Speaking to the publication, Rebecca Klein-Collins—the vice president of impact at the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning and author of Never Too Late: The Adult Student's Guide to College—urged parents considering returning to school to "think carefully about what you need to make college work for you, approaching it like a consumer. You want a school that meets you where you are." You're an asset to them, she added, and they should "offer ways to help students like you get to the finish line."
Meanwhile, Elaine Rubin—a senior contributor and communications specialist at Edvisors—recommends being realistic about the time it will require. "Many colleges will allow you to consider full- or part-time enrollment," she said. "If you aren't attending school full-time, it will take you longer to complete your program or degree, but it may make it manageable. It's best to talk about this with an admission counselor. If you are looking for financial aid to help you cover the costs, you may need to enroll for a certain amount of credits every term."
Cover Image Source: Facebook/Mississippi State University - Meridian Campus