Family sets an example, pursues higher education
From left to right, Jamal Cummins, his wife, Shonnelle, and mother, Jocelyn L. Cannegieter, share a moment following a commencement ceremony held at Strayer University in Atlanta, Ga.

For inspiration, Jamal Cummins doesn't have to look far when it comes to educational heroes.

Cummins, human resource specialist, Human Capital G-1, Army Contracting Command, recently received his bachelor's degree and his mother received her master's during the same Strayer University commencement ceremony at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

"It was an awesome experience," Cummins said. "My mother always pushed us to get an education at a young age. Graduating together was like icing on the cake."

His mother, Jocelyn L. Cannegieter, graduated with honors, earning a degree in accounting, specializing in taxes. Cummins' concentration was in entrepreneurial studies. He also has a bachelor's in biblical studies.

During his academic journey, Cummins learned valuable lessons outside the classroom on time management.

"Without a doubt I learned the importance of using my time wisely and that nothing is given to you in life," he said. "I learned that from her. My mom has set the bar with her master's degree so now I have to try to reach it."

Through all her educational quests, Cannegieter has always wanted to set the example.

"My impetus for starting was to show my children that if I can do it, I knew they could do it," said the mother of three. "I wanted to encourage them to get an education now and not to wait until later. I wanted them to succeed. I wanted them to be proud of me."

That example extended to Cummins' wife, Shonnelle, as well. She received her bachelor's degree from Oakwood University, Huntsville Ala., a week prior.

Cummins said he plans on taking six months off, then start working on his master's. While not pursuing another degree, his mother said she hasn't ruled out attending more classes.

"I always liked school. School is fun and I am not done yet. The knowledge that I now have, no one can take that away from me," Cannegieter said.

Page last updated Wed June 5th, 2013 at 00:00