Mother to graduate with her daughter at Paine

It took nearly 30 years, but one mother will graduate from college and she's doing it with her daughter.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – This Mother’s Day will be a special one for two people in the CSRA.  When Paine College holds its commencement activities this weekend, a mother and her daughter will walk across the stage together.

Parents typically send their kids off to college and wonder how their experience is going to be. But one mother didn’t have to wonder.  She was right there through all of the lectures, study sessions and tests with her daughter.

Briana Edwards jokingly told NewsChannel 6 about the unlikely graduation story.

“More like mom being like daughter,” she laughed.

When Briana Edwards received a phone call from her mother the second semester of her sophomore year, she wasn’t prepared to hear her mother would be joining her as a Paine College Lion.

“She was going around telling everybody that she was my big sister. I was like no, that is my mom. They said she said you are her sister. I said no, that’s actually my mom. She gave birth to me. I got pictures,” she told classmates.

Briana’s mom Deborah graduated from high school in 1988 from AR Johnson. She enrolled in Paine, but she said life just happened.

“I had my son and my daughter and became a single parent. My desire was that I was going to make sure that they didn’t go lacking on anything so I had to make a decision. I had to put my schooling on home to take care of my family,” said Deborah, Briana’s mom.

Deborah told NewsChannel 6 she worked and took classes here and there, but decided to finish after seeing the love and support both her daughter and son received while attending Paine.

The pair is not just at the same school, but they have the same major too, Early Childhood Education. So, they learned together, which made it a vital partnership for the duo when Deborah became ill.

“I’m a two time cancer survivor,” Deborah explained. “Didn’t give up. Had to sit out a couple of semesters to fight and win cancer.”

Deborah said she hopes to work down the school hall from her daughter one day. Until then, the two are ready to share a milestone together.

“I’m definitely a proud daughter at the moment, as you can see,” Briana said. “It’s just a lot of parents don’t get through it. And my mom did.”

Deborah and Briana graduate from Paine this Sunday.  They will become alumni with Brandon, Deborah’s son and Briana’s brother, who graduated from Paine last year.

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