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Class of 2017: Mother, daughter duo to graduate with degrees in English

Ceria and her mother Phyllis will both graduate with English degrees.

The bond between mother and daughter can be unshakable. Sometimes, that bond is given the chance to grow even stronger.

For Phyllis and Ceria Reeves, their opportunity came while they both pursued their bachelor’s in English together. 

“I was the first to come to Georgia College,” said Ceria, who transferred from Georgia Military College in 2013. “When thinking about what I wanted to study, I thought back to what I was good at growing up. I always wrote stories and got awards for them, so I decided on English.”

After encouragement from her husband, Ceria and her other two children Phyllis decided it was time for her to continue her education journey too. After years of substitute teaching in Milledgeville, she decided she wanted more.

“I started out at Central Georgia Tech, with the thought of studying nursing,” Phyllis, who comes from a family of educators, said. “But then I thought ‘why am I forcing myself to do something that just isn’t for me?’”

Not even knowing Ceria had landed English as a major, Phyllis decided her years of being obsessed with grammar and reading translated into a major in English. The two have spent some of their time together in the English program at Georgia College, taking classes such as a course dedicated to the works of Shakespeare. Ceria says the experience has given her another perspective of her mother.

“I get to see her in a different way. She’s not just mom anymore. She has valuable points about the texts we read. I see the way she teaches others and the way they treat and respect her in turn,” said Ceria.

For Phyllis, she says earning their degrees together has been a wonderful experience. As a substitute teacher, she already felt comfortable going back to school as a nontraditional student, but she enjoys knowing her daughter is on campus.

“She’s never been embarrassed or made me feel like I didn’t belong learning beside her,” she said. “We’re just like friends who are taking a class together — best friends.”

The two will graduate in the upcoming undergraduate commencement ceremony and both plan to go on to graduate school. They both are already looking for internships and additional aid to help them in earning their masters to teach at the collegiate level. Phyllis eventually wants her doctorate while Ceria is looking at the Masters of Public Administration program at Georgia College. Both say their end goal is to give back.

“I always wanted to eventually give back to my community,” said Ceria. “I could go someplace like Atlanta, but I’ve always loved middle Georgia. I want to help the communities around me.”

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