It isn't every day that a grandmother graduates from college. But a grandmother graduating from college along with her granddaughter?
It happened Thursday at Chicago State University.
It was graduation day for 25-year-old Karea Berry and her grandmother 62-year-old Belinda Berry.
"I feel very proud of my granddaughter because my granddaughter excelled," Belinda said.
Both grandmother and granddaughter live in Englewood and were among the hundreds of Chicago State University students awarded diplomas. Belinda a degree in business and Karea a degree in criminal justice.
"We didn't know we were going to finish together because I was fulltime and she was part time. And it actually just worked out that way. I just say it was God's will," Karea said.
Karea is the mother of a 4-year-old girl and worked as a security guard while going to school. Her grandmother worked in a hospital office for years, but decided to go back to school because she wants to open a business of her own.
"I am very honored to be a role model. And I hope I am an inspiration to the young as well as the old, because it's never too late to pursue an education," Belinda said.
Belinda also graduated magna cum laude with a 3.8 GPA, only slightly better than her granddaughter's 3.4 -- what they call a "friendly competition."
And this isn't the last of college for either of them. Both grandmother and granddaughter say they plan to pursue master's degrees.
"It's a wonderful story. And it speaks to what Chicago State does best. And that is respond to students who are just leaving high school as well as students who want to come back and earn a degree," said Dr. Rachel Lindsey, CSU interim president.
Karea says the double-graduation just reinforces what her grandmother taught her growing up.
"That education is the key to success. That's her motto of life. She just always said you have to persevere through all of your challenges and you will receive what you need to receive. And that's what's happening to us today," Karea said.