All in the family: Dad, son, daughter earn master’s degrees

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) — A father and his two children have graduated together from a branch of Mississippi State University, each earning a master’s degree in education.

Commondre Cole, son Ja’Coby Cole and daughter Iesha Gully were among the 153 graduates Thursday at MSU-Meridian’s spring commencement.

Commondre Cole teaches at Northwest Middle School and Ja’Coby Cole teaches at Oakland Heights Elementary, both in the Meridian Public School District. Gully teaches at Northeast Elementary in the Lauderdale County School District.

“This is a big accomplishment for our family,” Gully told WTOK-TV. “Just to keep driving and keep going forward and to lead by example and to show my younger siblings and the rest of my family that we can do it. We started strong, and we finish strong.”

Ja’Coby Cole said he never thought he would become a teacher right away.

“I knew I’d have to have a backup plan, so I thought about my mom, my dad’s and my sister’s footsteps,” he said. “They’re all educators, and I thought it’d be best for me to follow their footsteps.”

Commondre Cole said his wife, Jessica Gully-Cole, also teaches. She encouraged him to return to college with their children.

“We accomplished this and we’re all walking together,” he said at the ceremony.

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