It was a shock to them both!
A Virginia father-daughter duo have graduated from college together, TCC Today reports.
Marvin Fletcher is a military veteran who served in the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps, spending 12 years as a transportation and logistics specialist with tours in both Afghanistan and Kuwait. A Portsmouth native, Fletcher says his work in the service is actually what put his educational aspirations on hold.
“Serving in the military slowed down my studies as I moved around the country and did multiple deployments,” he explained.
He found his footing at Tidewater Community College (TCC). Fletcher credits their military center with helping him get through school and reach the point of graduation. Pursuing his Associate of Applied Science in Management degree has been ten years in the making and he’s proud of how hard he worked. Realizing the value of education, Fletcher always wanted better for his daughter, SaNayah Hill. When the junior at Deep Creek High said she was going to dual-enroll to earn a Career Studies Certificate in Emergency Medical Service/Emergency Medical Training, he supported her 100%. Now the two have graduated together, a shock to them both and a timeline they couldn’t have mapped out if they tried.
“As parents, we want a better start for our kids. To see SaNayah graduate with a certificate at 17, I’m really proud. A lot of kids don’t aspire to do all that…I wanted different for my daughter. And that’s happened largely because of her mom and my support, and because of her hard work,” said Fletcher.
SaNayah spent a lot of time during her program working with local firefighters, participating in ride-alongs, and soaking up all the knowledge. SaNayah said being able to graduate with her father is just the icing on the cake of an amazing experience.
“I feel like it… [was] a fun experience and not something a lot of people can say [they’ve experienced],” said SaNayah.
“I never thought my daughter and I would be wearing a cap and gown together. I’m utterly speechless,” Fletcher added.
SaNayah plans to use her EMT certificate to further a career in medicine. She plans to pursue a career as a general practice physician and says this is just one part of the plan. Fletcher has other plans, looking to open group homes for disabled adults and veterans battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, something Fletcher says he knows all about. Both daughter and dad want to encourage people to just keep going and follow their dreams.
“Life isn’t about where you start, but where you finish. There were times when I thought I couldn’t do it, but the staff at TCC motivated me and my family support systems made all the difference,” said Fletcher.
“People often doubt themselves. But I say get out there and do the work and see what doors will open,” added SaNayah.
Congratulations Marvin and SaNayah!
Photo Courtesy of Tidewater Community College