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Grandmother and granddaughter graduate together

Tennessee

Carol Ozemhoya| OW Contributor | 5/11/2018, 10:45 a.m.
Theresa Lyles, 68, and her granddaughter, Zuri Lyles, are...
Theresa and Zuri Lyles

Theresa Lyles, 68, and her granddaughter, Zuri Lyles, are more than 40 years apart in age, but they walked to college graduation together on May 4 at Tennessee State University. Theresa was originally enrolled in 1967, but she dropped out before graduating to take care of her family. The grandmother of 15 went back to school recently, and last Saturday she received a degree in sociology, reports Fox 17 News. “I never contemplated this,” Theresa said. “Who new that when I started back then that I would be graduating at the same time as she did. Nobody but God.” Theresa came back to TSU a little over a year ago, but tragedy struck when Zuri's mom, Theresa's middle daughter, passed away. “That hit us so hard that I almost dropped out because I was struggling and my grandmother went through a depression,” Zuri said. “But we kept encouraging each other. Through it all, we started working harder and did everything we needed to get the job done.” Zuri received a bachelor's degree in health information management and a minor in business. She has a job offer at St. Thomas General and plans to attend graduate school. “I always wanted to come back, but just never had the chance to do it,” Theresa said. “I am glad I did, and it’s even better that I am doing it with my granddaughter. We encouraged each other. It was tough, but we had to tunnel through.” TSU officials said this duo may be the first time in the school's more than 100-year-old history that a grandmother and granddaughter graduated at the same time.