When grandparents have a close relationship with their grandchildren, it’s a beautiful thing.
When a grandparent stands next to their grandkid at graduation, it’s a bit odd, but still beautiful. That was the case with 62-year-old Belinda and her 25-year-old granddaughter Karea Berry, who graduated from Chicago State University together on Thursday.
Karea started attending college shortly after high school, like most students these days, working towards a career in criminal justice. Meanwhile, Belinda decided to get a business degree, hoping it would help her find a better job.
While the familial duo was glad to have each other’s support over the years, they had no idea that they would graduate together.
“It was never planned. We both enrolled in school, and we didn’t know we were going to finish together, because I was full-time and she was part-time, and it just worked out that way,” Karea told ABC 7 News.
The pair sat in the Raucous Jones Convocation Center, eagerly waiting for their names to be called. Belinda crossed the stage first, followed by Karea. They had both finally made it! Karea graduated with good grades, but they paled in comparison to her grandmother—who came out at the top of her class.
“She graduated with a 3.8 GPA and health issues during her last two semesters, and so for her to come out on top even more than me is amazing, so she is my inspiration,” Karea said of her grandma.
When asked how she was able to maintain her top-of-the-class standing despite her much younger competition, Belinda had this to say:
“It feels like there was no competition to me because I knew what I had to do and I did it.”
Belinda’s success has inspired not just her granddaughter but the rest of the student body as well.
“I am very honored to be a role model, and I hope that I am an inspiration to the young as well as the old, because it is never too late to pursue an education,” she said.
Karea plans on starting CSU’s Masters in Mental Health Counseling Program in 2018. Belinda is also pursuing a masters in business, with the goal of starting her own fashion boutique.
“I love fashion. I have a passion for fashion,” she said to ABC 7.
This is the first time in the school’s 150 year history that a grandmother and granddaughter have graduated together. This historic graduation has inspired students and staff alike.
Belinda Berry said she has always stressed that “education is power,” and now that she and her granddaughter have that power, they just might use it to change the world!