Mother, daughter complete MSW together at NCCU
Monday, May 11, 2015
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
Evelyn and Jasmine Scott are NASW-NC members.
The Herald Sun (Durham, NC)
When Jasmine and Evelyn Scott of Durham made their bittersweet, triumphal walk across the stage at McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium to receive their master’s degrees Friday, they carried life lessons whose matriarchal arc spanned three generations, and a love that shone from here to the hereafter.
The first-ever mother-daughter combination to graduate together from N.C. Central University’s master’s of social work program — with honors, to boot — were commemorating Mother’s Day Weekend by dedicating their hard-won academic success to the values and virtues imparted by Virginia Keith Scott of Raleigh.
“We lost my grandmother, her mother, it will be a year after Mother’s Day, and we thought we were going to give up on this program,” said Jasmine, 24.
“But we knew for her we had to keep pushing and continue to do it. Today was just a blessing because she would come to everybody’s graduations and for her not to be here is very hard for us, but we know she’s smiling down on us,” Jasmine said.
“I’ve been thinking about her all week,” said Evelyn, 53, as pent-up tears finally rolled freely down her smiling face. “It was real sentimental, and I could feel her presence. I could feel her.”
The last time Evelyn heard her mama’s voice was Mother’s Day Weekend last year as she was in the final stages of battling a malignant brain tumor.
“The last time she walked actually, then she passed the following Sunday,” Evelyn said. “It’s been really hard, because last year at this time we knew we only had about a week or so left with her. We weren’t focused on school. We weren’t focused on anything. We were just trying to make sure that she was OK.”
“Her foundation, her strength, her structure’s what got us through, and my whole family through,” Jasmine said. So the family will gather this Mother’s Day “to celebrate her. It’s not going to be about us. We did it for her. We love her. But the passion, the dedication, the foundation came from my grandma.”
While discussing their unique situation of graduating together from the same program, the mother and daughter displayed that uncanny ability most commonly associated with twins to give the same answer simultaneously.
“Family and prayer,” they said in unison when asked how they pulled through the shoals of despair after the family’s loss to keep on course with classwork.
“And the school administrators have been very supportive. Everybody’s just rallied around us and told us not to give up, and here we are,” Evelyn said.
“I’m more proud of her,” they said in concert when asked who deserves the greater applause for earning a master’s degree.
“It’s been challenging,” they chimed in sync when asked how they deal with having undergraduate degrees from rival North Carolina A&T while working on their master’s at NCCU. “I still root for the Aggies,” they said in harmony without prompting.
But one very large difference between them is the path they took to their graduate degrees.
“We’ve always kind of done things together, so when I decided to go to grad school right from undergrad, I had told her, ‘Hey, mom, this is the work that we already do. You always wanted to go back to school so go on and do it,’ ” Jasmine said.
“I graduated school in 1986, so for me to come back this late with all this technology and all this new stuff, it was just a challenge. That alone was challenging,” Evelyn said.
“She actually was encouraging me and reminding me” about assignments, Evelyn said of her daughter flipping the homework role script. “She made sure I stayed up with my assignments. I couldn’t have done it without her.”
Jasmine, who had a picture of her and her grandmother at her undergraduate commencement, and another of her and her mother’s graduation picture from this year atop her mortarboard, spoke glowingly of her mother’s can-do example.
“She’s been very inspirational in my life as a single parent raising me and my brother,” and now in the process of adopting another son while serving as a therapeutic foster parent, she said.
“She’s always had a passion for helping others, and I’ve always looked up to her. I’ve always wanted to go to work with her because of the kind of work she does for teens,” at the Durham Teen Center, Jasmine said.
“I’ve always been very hands-on with her in her work career, just watching her, admiring her, and aspiring to be like her when I grow up,” Jasmine said.
So hooding each other, walking to the stage one after the other, and graduating together assumed an intensely special meaning.
“It was an awesome experience to see everyone else waving at their moms and having my mom sitting right beside me,” Jasmine said.
So what to do with those graduate degrees?
“We’re still kind of deciding what’s the best way we can help, but we know we’re going to serve,” Evelyn said. “We know that without a doubt. We’re talking a lot about teen moms, providing some support and structure for them, but the sky’s the limit for us.”
Read story here: http://www.heraldsun.com/news/showcase/x219726979/MOTHERS-DAY-At-NCCU-mother-daughter-complete-3-generation-journey