Hundreds of Jackson State University students walked across the stage and received their diplomas on Saturday. While all of the graduates deserve a round of applause, one woman stood out from the crowd.
Out of the sea of 550 new alumni who took part in JSU's fall 2012 graduation, Ethel Singleton said holding her college diploma in hand, was a milestone that's taken her a lifetime to achieve.
"This day means a lifelong dream and it feels wonderful, wonderful to get my degree," Singleton told WLBT News.
Singleton received her Bachelor's degree in criminal justice. She's 69 years-old and decided to go back to school to influence her grandchildren to earn their degrees.
Singleton didn't celebrate her graduation alone. She has eleven children, including four sets of twins. All of those children, except one who passed away as an infant, watched Singleton walk across the stage.
"We flew in from all over the country. I live in Washington D.C. and we're just having fun celebrating this day with my mother," said one of Singleton's sons, Dr. Samuel Thornton.
Education was always the primary focus in Singleton's household. She encouraged each of her children celebrating with her to go to college. All of them have earned college degrees. In return, Singleton's children stood by her side while she was in school.
"It is just wonderful we're so proud of her we encouraged her," said one of Singleton's daughter's, Elaine Gayden.
"She never gave up, she kept the fight and that's important when you want an education, you go get it and who knows now, maybe she'll get her Master's," said Dr. Thornton.
Singleton has these words of encouragement. "I would say if you have a dream follow your dream. If you want your degree reach for the sky and don't stop until you reach it," Singleton said.
The celebrated mom said she's not sure if she's headed back to work or if she'll just hang her degree up on the wall to remind her that dreams can come true.
In addition to having eleven children, Singleton also has thirty-eight grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
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