This graduation season is an extra special one for a Mississippi family because there are three of them graduating in the household. Commondre Cole, 45, and his two adult children, Ja’Coby Cole, 25, and Iesha Gully, 27, all received their master’s degrees in education from the Mississippi State University-Meridian.
It’s definitely a proud moment that Mary Cole, Commondre’s mother, couldn’t help but share on social media.
“They’re all mine! They MASTERED it!!” Mary wrote on Facebook along with a video and photos of the graduates receiving their hard-earned master’s degrees.
Commondre loves re-watching the video of the ceremony, where he and his children are seen walking 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.
The trio, all teachers, were among the 153 graduates at MSU-Meridian’s recently concluded spring commencement.
Commondre is a health teacher at Northwest Middle School, while Ja’Coby teaches physical education at Oakland Heights Elementary. Both schools are in the Meridian Public School District. 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 leaned on and encouraged one another throughout their studies. On their way to getting their’ master’s degrees there was even a friendly competition among the trio.
“Family is everything,” Ja’Coby said. “You always got to have someone watching your back, keep on you.”
MSU-Meridian provides site-based credit, non-credit coursework, and classes through distance learning.
Commondre said that his wife, Jessica Gully-Cole, also an educator, was the one who encouraged him to go back to college.
“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 was the first to pursue the degree in the fall of 2020. Her dad and brother joined her in the spring of 2021.
Ja’Coby, who started out playing sports, never thought he’d become a teacher right away. Nonetheless, he is proud to have pursued the same career as his parents and sister.
“I knew I’d have to have a backup plan, so I thought about my mom, my dad’s, and my sister’s footsteps,” he said. “They’re all educators, and I thought it’d be best for me to follow in their footsteps.”
Luckily for the family, this year’s commencement took place in person at the MSU Riley Center after two years of being held remotely because of the pandemic.
“This is a big accomplishment for our family. 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,” Iesha said.
What a way to set an example. Congratulations to this dedicated family!