(KFVS) - Like many, a local mom will be attending her daughter's Southeast Missouri State University graduation - the only difference is that this mom will be in a cap and gown, too.
Vickey Graham spent over 12 years trying to get her degree and inspired her children to push themselves too. Her daughter, Narita Gater will be standing with her as she sees her dream fulfilled on Saturday, May 14, 2016.
"Narita might have been probably about 5 or 6 years old when I first started college," Graham said.
54 year-old Vickey Graham is a mother of three, grandmother of five and this weekend she will add the title "college graduate" to that list.
"Being there for my kids whenever they needed help, and my family, and being a care taker for my mom cause she's ill right now and just trying to stay focused on school determined to finish up and complete my degree," Graham said.
She's been supporting herself and her family, working two jobs and taking night classes - all while trying to get her degree.
"I said well if my daughter could do it, I know I could do it and like I said, lots of sleepless nights, falling asleep with the laptop you know in my lap; just you know it's been in hard, but in the end it's worth it." Graham said.
That hard work was an example for her kids, like Narita. She said her mom is an inspiration and she will be alongside her mom Saturday accepting her degree too.
"I feel like she put her life on hold to raise her family and she did a really good job at that... I know it had to stressful with three children - me just having one child was hard and I couldn't imagine with three - she didn't have to do that."
Vickey will graduate with a degree in criminal justice and Narita in early childhood education.
"I love her more than anything, she's just the most consistent person in my life, has always set a good example," Gater said.
"Oh I feel really great, I just don't know how to express myself... This is something I've always wanted, you know, to get a degree and to try to move on and do better in life," Graham said.
"We'll have lots of support and friends and family there cheering us on," Gater said.
Vickie's son, Shaquille, will be graduating in the fall.