Mother, daughter duo at Jackson State graduate together
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mother-daughter duo Pamela Flowers-Magee and Jo’Vonda Flowers graduated together on May 7 from Jackson State University.
“We joked about us finishing at the same time, and it just so happened to work out that way. It was fate,” said mom, Flowers-Magee, who earned a doctorate in educational leadership.
“I decided to take advantage of the free courses,” said Flowers-Magee, referring to the incentive JSU gives employees. Faculty and staff members can take up to six credit hours free of charge.
The married mother of three holds a bachelor’s in business administration from Belhaven University. She then received a master’s in early childhood education from Jackson State in 2015.
However, Flowers-Magee recalled that her department chair pushed her to attain a doctoral degree the following fall.
Jo’Vonda attended JSU as an undergraduate student in 2013. Choosing the HBCU appeared to be a no-brainer since her mother was a staff member. Plus, her grandfather, James “Toe” Hartfield, was previously a kicking coach for JSU’s football team.
“I love Jackson State. When I first came I was pretty nervous. I didn’t expect it to feel like home, but it did. My whole life has kind of been based around Jackson State,” she said.
Jo’Vonda completed a bachelor’s degree in health, physical education and recreation in 2017.
She subsequently returned to JSU to pursue her master’s. Due to Flowers-Magee’s lengthy dissertation process, the two ended up on a trek to finish together.
“I came to see her every day,” said Jo’Vonda of her mother, then laughed. “I know sometimes she got tired of seeing me, but I would come to her department just to visit her. We would have lunch together. If I ever felt like I didn’t have anybody, I knew that I had her.”
The women pushed forward enduring through a national pandemic, the city’s water crisis, taking turns watching Bryce, Jo’Vonda’s 2-year-old son, working, homework, and writing a dissertation all to walk the commencement stage on May 7.
“Oh, what a journey for the both of us, but God saw us through it. We can both reflect and remember that we were challenged, embraced and pushed,” Flowers-Magee said. “Our support team is ‘thee’ best.”
Giving thanks to God for being faithful and merciful, she further added that she and her daughter exceeded their own expectations.
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