A mother and the high school dropout son she had at 13 combined resilience and a little inspiration from the Bible to overcome their odds and graduate together with doctorate degrees on the same day at a recent Capella University ceremony.
"Never in a thousand, million, trillion years [did I expect to get my PhD]. The thought of becoming a doctor anyone was far-fetched," the woman's son, Maurice McBride told WRDW-TV.
McBride said when he was 16, he dropped out of high school and started hanging out with bad company. That crowd soon led him into trouble and a juvenile probation facility. It was while he was in the facility that he became connected to the word of God.
"I picked up the Bible and I started reading and I was like it all makes sense. I see how it actually comes to fruition. I see how I ended up here," he said.
After his epiphany, McBride completed his GED and pursued a music career while attending classes online. He eventually left the music business, went on to graduate school and became a professor at Paine College.
His mother, Vickie McBride, explained that "at the age of 13, I got pregnant with Maurice."
As a young mother and the daughter of a teacher growing up with her shame in Waynesboro, Ga., was difficult. "It [teen pregnancy] was shunned upon and of course the older people in the community were whispering," she said.
But Vickie McBride persevered with the help of her mother, who is now retired, and continued her education.
"As a teenager I continued my education. That was never an option," she explained. She went on to college and graduate school as well, while raising Maurice and three other children.
"I had to figure out how to work and how to parent and how to manage school all at the same time." she said.
The idea for the both of them to do their doctorate degrees came from Maurice. One day he decided to call his mother and pitched the idea and she decided to go for it.
"I said 'hey I think I'm gonna get my PhD. You wanna do this with me?' 'No that's OK. You bumped your head, but you can go ahead and you can do it. I'm done with school,'" he recalled his mother saying.
After a little reasoning, however, they both settled that they would do it. Vickie graduated with a doctorate in K-12 education and Maurice in organizational management.
"I didn't let my situation define who I was. I defined my situation. I looked at my situation and I told [the] situation this is where we are going and this is what we are doing," said Vickie.