‘Promise made, promise kept’: Men prepare to graduate in honor of their mothers

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 10:38 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson State is gearing up for its winter graduation ceremony.

More than 500 students will walk across the stage to get those hard-earned degrees. This achievement is not easy, especially as we get older. But two men who are already in their careers decided to go back and finish what they started.

And they couldn’t be happier about it.

Meet Ira Vaughn. He is the general manager of Half Shell in Flowood. He also has a successful limo business.

He started his studies at JSU back in the late ‘80s and stopped. He admits going to back to school was not on his to-do list.

”At one point, I was not thinking about going back to school with all the success I had. Going back to school was about finishing something my mom asked me to do,” he stated. “I have been in the restaurant business for over 20 years, so I didn’t have a desire to get a degree because it wasn’t a requirement for the field that I am in.”

Sheriff Travis Patten can understand that. He decided to go to the military after high school and later went on to become the top law enforcement leader in Adams County.

Yet, he still had a desire to seek higher education.

“I don’t want to be denied anything I choose to do later on because they say I am not qualified because I don’t have the education to back me,” he explained.

But both men admit the true driving force for them enrolling in JSU were their mothers; mothers who were battling aggressive forms of cancer all while pushing them to go back to school.

”I made her a promise,” said Patten. “I said, ‘Mom, you know, you have been telling me for years that I need to further my education and I am going to make you a promise: I am going to do that.’ Eight after I took office, my mom passed away.“

”Mom actually got sick the first day of class, so when she took ill that first day, she ended up passing the next week. So this was strictly about finishing for her,” said Vaughn.

They admit it wasn’t easy - especially after losing their mothers to cancer. “My mom has been everybody’s mom, so her not being here is big,” said Vaughn.

But they did it. And Friday they will walk across the stage to get their JSU degrees. A bittersweet moment.

“I made a promise to my mom,” concluded Patten, “and I can say: Promise made, promise kept.”

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.