Mother, Indya Thomas, and her son, Kamau Gomes both graduated from Georgia State University in the United States on the same day.
Indya Thomas is a former teen mother who had her son Kamau at the age of 17. She said in an interview with Blavity that she was told for years that she would never be successful.
She stated that at 17 years old she went through a difficult period in her life when she discovered she was pregnant at such a young age. Her family did not support her decision to keep the child which made her end up living in a homeless shelter.
“I had Kamau when I was 17 years old. We did not have a lot of people that supported me having him so young. I was told that I would never graduate from high school, let alone college. I was told I was going to ruin his life. So, it gives me a lot of strength that we are here together,” she said.
Indya said instead of losing hope, she used her difficult circumstances to motivate herself to succeed. She mentioned that she managed to secure a good job that offered tuition reimbursement.
She added that she took that opportunity and enrolled in classes at Georgia State University, where she pursued a major in marketing and a minor in hospitality.
”They only cover certain schools in the university system. So, it was either Georgia State or UGA. I had to make a choice, and I wanted to do in-person classes, so Georgia State was a natural choice for me. It’s just fate,” Indya said.
”My path is going to be more service marketing. I know one thing is for certain I want to be a good role model for him,” she added.
Indya stated that she was able to inspire her son, who decided to enroll at the university while she was attending classes there. Although they never had classes together, their love and support for each other led them to a significant milestone in their lives.
The mother and son duo graduated from the university on the same day. Indya with her bachelor’s degree and 17-year-old Gomes graduated with an associate degree from his dual enrollment at the university through the DeKalb County Early College Academy program.
“I don’t think there are words to capture the amount of pride and just humility and love I have for this experience. Honestly, if there was a lifetime of living this one moment, that would be enough,” Indya said.
Gomes stated that he plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Exercise in sports science at Georgia State University after he was awarded a Gates scholarship worth $1,000 for his tuition fees.