A Mississippi family had a great time during graduation season. That’s because three of them earned their degrees together.
Commondre Cole, 45, and his two adult children, Ja’Coby Cole, 25, and Iesha Gully, 27, graduated with a master’s degrees in education from the Mississippi State University-Meridian.
Mary Cole, Commondre’s mother, couldn’t help being proud, and rightfully so, so she shared the moment on social media.
“They’re all mine! They MASTERED it!!” Mary posted on Facebook along with a video and photos.
Commondre keeps re-watching the video of the ceremony, loving the fact that he and his children walked across the stage to accept their diplomas.
“I love to go watch the video. I was first. Cole was second, and Iesha came in third behind us. That was a special moment,” he told FOX Television Stations.
Commondre is a health teacher at Northwest Middle School. Ja’Coby teaches physical education at Oakland Heights Elementary. Those schools are located in the Meridian Public School District.
Not to be outdone, Iesha Gully is a second-grade inclusion teacher at Northeast Elementary in the Lauderdale County School District.
“We were taking like some of the same classes,” Iesha said. “So we were studying together, trying to get ready for mid-terms and final exams..so it was a blessing at the end of the day.”
The family had a friendly competition all while supporting each other on the way to earning their degrees.
“Family is everything,” Ja’Coby said. “You always got to have someone watching your back, keep on you.”
MSU-Meridian does provide site-based credit, non-credit coursework, and classes through distance learning so that worked well for the family.
Commondre’s wife, Jessica Gully-Cole, is also an educator.
She was the one responsible for encouraging him to go back and earn his degree.
“Really my wife, she already has her specialist,” he told WTOK-TV. “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.”
Iesha went first, pursuing her degree in the fall of 2020. Then her dad and brother went to join her in the spring of the following year..
Ja’Coby was into sports, so he never thought he’d get to become a teacher. But regardless of his expectations or doubts, he is proud to now have the same career as his parents and sister.
He knew he needed a backup plan so Ja’Coby thought of following in their footsteps.
This year’s commencement exercises happened at the MSU Riley Center. That’s great news after two years of the same event being held remotely, no thanks to the pandemic.
It’s definitely a big accomplishment for the family. They lead by example with their younger siblings looking up to role models in their own household. Iesha says they started strong, and finished strong.