Mother and Son Walk Stage Together

Both mother Ligia Gramajo and son Carlos graduated from the College of Technology in spring 2011.

"I was happy for her proud to see her come out of school after years of working," Carlos said.

It was a long time coming for Ligia, who said she always dreamed of getting her college degree.

"I was a single teen mom, but all the while I kept going to college in the back of my mind," Ligia said. "So when Carlos graduated with his first degree, I thought that this was my time."

Carlos, who has two other degrees, graduated with a bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering Technology and Ligia received her first degree in Electrical Power and Engineering Technology.

Ligia was overcome with excitement on graduation day.

"I felt like was in a dream. I was crying I was so excited. It was all a little too much for me," Ligia said.

But, the pair says, it wasn't all smooth sailing.

"Usually it was financial and timing difficulties that were the hardest to overcome," Carlos said. "If one of the cars wasn't working, we'd have to carpool. There were a lot of sacrifices."

Both mother and son worked their entire way through school. But, Carlos says it was all worth it in the end.

"It's important because she put things on hold for my sister and me so we could get our degrees," Carlos said. "It's an accomplishment because compared to other people who have immigrated, it's not until the third generation you see people go to college – but all of us have degrees. We feel we're moving much faster and that gives you a good feeling of accomplishment."

Both are now working towards their master's degrees while working in the College of Technology.

While they had their fair share of difficulties, Ligia says attending school with her son has only strengthened their relationship.

"We talk more, we share our ideas, we ask each other's opinions," Ligia said. "Our relationship has moved to a different level. I don't see him as a son anymore; I respect him as an engineer.