ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — A North Carolina mother and daughter are celebrating graduation season with two huge milestones.
Pamela Griffin and her daughter, Linae Jacox, both recently graduated from Elizabeth City State University with their master’s degrees.
It’s a huge accomplishment for the two, especially for Griffin, who is 65 years old.
“I am ecstatic. It was a very hard process,” she said. “I work at SECEP in Virginia Beach and in the process of working and going to school, it was difficult at times, but I looked at my daughter and I’m like ‘I can’t fail because if I fail I give her a reason to.’ So, I have to do well and I ended up with a 4.0 GPA.”
Griffin, who is also a retired Perquimans County teacher, said she graduated from ECSU in 1976 at the age of 20. After having her family and seeing them having successful careers, she decided to get a master’s in education.
Jacox received her master’s in mathematics and now teaches at the same school in Perquimans County where her mother taught.
She said being able to walk together is something she’ll always cherish.
“My mom did that but I also got to celebrate myself. It’s that moment no one can take from us. We were able to celebrate together,” Jacox said.
And so was the rest of their family.
Jacox along with three other of Griffin’s daughters also graduated from ECSU.
10 On Your Side spoke with all of them over Zoom.
“Proud can’t even begin to describe the feeling we all have,” said daughter Tina Perry, who graduated in 1997. “Going through that process, we went through it with them the long days, the long nights, writing papers. To see they achieved it and did it at the same time, we were so ecstatic and so proud.”
Latisha Midgette, who lives in Hampton and graduated from ECSU in 2007, says it was amazing to see them graduate together.
Midgette also shared how wonderful it was for her sisters to attend the same school their mother had.
“Homecoming, we’re one big group together. It’s Pam and her girls. When you see my mom, you see all of us. We experienced all the things my mom, the same buildings the same campus that my mom experienced when she initially graduated. It’s rewarding to go to her school and honor her legacy,” Midgette said.
Daughter Mary Midgette, who graduated in 2012 and now lives in Texas, says their family is very supportive of all they do but it’s their mother’s influence that helped make them into the successful women they are today.
Perry graduated with a degree in biology, Latisha Midgette graduated with a degree in psychology, and Mary Midgette graduated with a degree in chemistry.
The daughters say their mother stressed the importance of education growing up and Midgette says it’s why she decided to major in chemistry.
“Chemistry is a lot of math and science. When I picked my major, I knew it was because of her and her teaching and the influence she had on me,” she said.
Jacox hopes that as a teacher, she’ll be able to have the same influence her mother has had on others.
“I am a teacher at that same school where she’s from. To have old coworkers talk highly of her, when her former students see me, they talk highly of her. I wish to be as influential of people that she has been in her profession. It’s amazing to follow behind in her footsteps. We can only hope we can keep her legacy alive,” she said.
The four women described their mother as the perfect role model and encourage others they too can do whatever they put their minds to.
“Even if you’re the first one of the third one, never give up. You can do it,” said Mary Midgette.
As for Griffin, getting her master’s is just the beginning.
“It is never ever too late to go back and pursue your dreams. I am not stopping here. I plan to go and get my doctorate. It’s like being in a candy store. You reach one part and are like oh wow! I’ve made it this far. I can go further,” she said.