Dad, son, and daughter graduate together: “We started strong, and we finish strong”

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A family is celebrating after a father and his two kids completed their graduation together from a branch of Mississippi State University. Commondre Cole, his son Ja’Coby Cole, and his daughter Iesha Gully each earned a master’s degree in education and were among 153 graduates at MSU-Meridian’s spring commencement on Thursday.

Commondre’s mother Mary shared the big news on Facebook alongside a video of her son and grandchildren receiving their respective degrees. “They’re all mine! They MASTERED it!” it read. “This is a big accomplishment for our family,” noted Gully who teaches at Northeast Elementary in the Lauderdale County School District.

“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. We started strong, and we finish strong,” she told WTOK-TV. As for her brother, Ja’Coby, who teaches at Oakland Heights Elementary in the Meridian Public School District, shared how he never thought that he would become a teacher this soon.

“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 their footsteps,” he noted. Commondre Cole, who is a teacher at the Northwest Middle School, shared that his teacher wife Jessica Gully-Cole was the one who encouraged him to return to college with their kids. “We accomplished this and we’re all walking together,” he expressed.

Just like Cole’s family, a family and daughter duo in Portsmouth, Virginia, have graduated together. Retired U.S. Marine and Army veteran, Marvin Fletcher, was surprised to learn that he and his 17-year-old daughter SaNayah Hill were graduating at the same time from Tidewater Community College.

During an interview, Fletcher said that he was extremely proud of his daughter for completing her career studies in emergency medical service as a dual-enrollment student even before finishing her junior year at Deep Creek High School. As for the father, he just earned his associate’s degree in applied science in management, reports Yahoo! News.

“I’m humbled and honored to have served. And I like the fact that my daughter wants to serve in the medical field in her own way,” said Fletcher who has served four years in the Marine Corps and eight more in the Army. “I didn’t really know what to say about the situation because it’s almost unheard of. But it was definitely very interesting and I was definitely excited about the whole experience,” said Hill of the unusual situation.

Both the father-daughter duo attended their graduation march on Monday, May 9 at the Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Virginia.

Cover image source: Mississippi State University – Meridian