UT Tyler mother, son set to graduate together - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

UT Tyler mother, son set to graduate together

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TYLER (KYTX) - Many students are preparing to walk across the stage to receive a diploma. For one east Texas family graduation at UT Tyler will be something they will never forget.

CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey shares the story of a mother and son, who will take the walk together.

This mother son duo, have been working hard.

"I'm ecstatic, this is something I've looked forward to a long time," said Carolyn O'Neill.

Now their hard work is paying off.  She and her son Eric O'Neill are graduating college together.

"It was one of things that i didn't know it was gonna happen until this semester that we were gonna be able to walk across the stage," said Eric.

Mrs. O'Neill is 62 years old. After 8 long years, she'll graduate with a degree in business management.

"Trying to go to college and work it in with my job, which is in Marshall, was quite a challenge at times," she said.

Her son Eric is 24, he'll graduate with a marketing degree.

"She's always been my example to follow," he said.

The O'Neill's upcoming commencement is a celebration for the whole family. Mom is the second woman in the family to ever graduate from college, her son is the first man.

"I'm a big goal setter. I've been telling him I've wanted him to go to college since he was a little kid."

After taking a break from college, Eric's fiance convinced him to go back, and with mom watching, he knew he had to step it up.

"I had one class with my mother, and that was probably the only class that I had perfect attendance in. I was there everyday."

Encouragement from his fiance and mother helped him through the hard parts.

"Saying yes you can finish, you're smart enough to do that," he said.

Mrs. O'Neill said she'll hang her degree will serve as inspiration to those who see it.

"Set goals and never let life take over."

The O'Neill's are two of 750, candidates to receive degrees Saturday at UT Tyler's graduation ceremony.

The mom in the story plans to continue working at her current job as an educator. However her son Eric, has an interview Monday.
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