It’s the day one Albuquerque mother always dreamed of for her daughter, but she didn’t expect to be there right alongside her.
“I will be graduating with a masters degree in health administration in the school of public administration,” said Lori White.
“I will be graduating today with a bachelor of arts in mass communication and journalism and psychology,” said Alea White.
Lori White thought the long, late nights with her daughter Alea were over when she started growing up.
“It’s definitely been a journey,” said Lori.
But, they continued as mother and daughter worked toward degrees at the University of New Mexico, at the same time.
“We actually both finished our last final this morning at about 3:30, so we went to bed about 4:00 this morning,” said Alea.
It’s always been just the two of them, and Lori worked hard to give Alea the life she deserved.
“It’s really hard to raise children on your own. From the time Alea came into this world, it was really important to me to break down barriers and dispel all of the myths that come with single parenting,” said Lori.
She built a successful career with Presbyterian, but kept hitting barriers.
“To be able to grow and advance, I was going to need more education,” said Lori.
She made the decision to go back to school two years into Alea getting her degree.
“She’s definitely a perfectionist. So, I had to remind her that it’s okay to get a B, you don’t always have to get an A as long as you try your best,” said Alea.
They learned from each other and kept one another going.
“Alea motivated me. I would watch her, she worked, she’d come home, she’d sit up really late at night to get her homework done. I thought you know Lori, you taught her to be this way, now you need to practice what you preach,” said Lori.
They’ve both been looking forward to graduation for a long time.
“I think it’s been pretty special,” said Alea.
To them, it means even more that they get to do it together.
“I’ll truly remember that this journey had a lot of ups and downs, but at the end, there truly was a rainbow and there were rewards because I’m able to watch my baby girl get her degree and I’m able to get my degree as well,” said Lori.
Lori and Alea graduated Friday night in the PIT, with their friends and family cheering them on in the stands.