Like many parents this season, Tonya Williams will proudly watch as her sons, Aaron and Evan, receive their college diplomas. However, the 48-year-old mother will also be getting her bachelor's degree from Chicago State University alongside Aaron on Thursday.
"I knew I wanted my sons to go to college, but how could I tell them to go to school if I never finished school?” Tonya said about her enrolling at the school to finish what she started in 1983. As a full-time student, the Chatham woman attended classes year-round and even took a mathematics course with Aaron.
"I was unaware my mom was taking algebra until I heard her calling my name as she sat across from me,” he told DNAinfo Chicago. "I was not embarrassed at all to have her in my class. My friends thought it was cute. I loved it.”
The family attributed much of their success to the steadfast commitment and support of their father and husband, Kevin, who never attended college.
After several challenging years of financing the educations of both herself and her two sons, Tonya will be earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a 3.4 GPA. Aaron, a student athlete, will receive his degree in non-traditional studies with a 2.9 GPA.
"As far as I'm concerned, she earned three diplomas this month because without her, we would not have been able to do it,” Evan said.
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(Photo: Courtesy of The Williams Family)
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