COLUMBIA, S.C. — It's not every day you hear the same last name graduate with the same degree from the same school, but it just happened at Midlands Technical College.
On Wednesday night, mother and son duo Sam and Stephanie Bridgers got to walk across the graduation stage together.
Sam is 21 years old and working toward getting a history degree. He says going to school with his mom was strange at times, but overall he is very proud of her.
Stephanie, Sam's mom, says after a long journey with education, and opening up her own restaurant, she was ready for a degree in something she enjoys. One of her other sons came home from Clemson and was registering for classes at Midlands Tech when she figured she would jump back into education.
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“I saw that they were doing free tuition still so I figured 'oh well I'll enroll in a few classes not realizing that I would have enough for an Associate's at the end of it," Stephanie explained. " At first, I wasn't going to walk but then I called the college and said I would love to walk with my son."
Midlands Tech says they had over 1,000 graduates this season, but a mother-son duo is rare.
"When a mother and a son get the chance to walk across the stage, it's a powerful example for other people looking to go back to school," said Midlands Tech President, Dr. Ronald Rhames. "Many people in our community are just looking for their reason to go back to school."
Michael Bridgers, husband, and father, says he is very proud of his wife and his son.
"It's very exciting to watch them do it together. Stephanie wasn't sure she wanted to at first but I told her to take a lap and have her moment and it just makes it that much more special that Sam gets to do it with her," he said.
Sam says he is planning to go on to pursue another degree at Newberry College after this, studying history.