A mother and daughter are set to make Grambling State University’s upcoming graduation a family affair. They call it their own brand of history-making
Suzzon Jiles, 48, and her daughter Trinity Humphrey, 21, plan to both walk across the stage on Thursday, May 12, to receive their bachelor’s degrees from the Louisiana-based HBCU. Jiles will receive her degree in child development and Humphrey will receive her degree in biology.
“I didn’t know anything about college life,” Jiles told KTVE. “And I said, well, I’m gonna get up and go to college. I had no idea that I was gonna walk alongside my daughter. This is just history for both of us.”
Jiles said she was encouraged on the journey by Humphrey. “My daughter said, ‘Momma we’re doing this’, and to hear my daughter say, ‘We are doing it’, I kept going … studying all night,” Jiles added. “Sometimes going to bed at 3 or 4 in the morning while working and doing two jobs. It was stressful. But, I wouldn’t trade another day for it. I would do it again.”
Humphrey said her mother was the sole provider for her and her siblings growing up and did her best to give them everything, so encouraging her was natural.
“So, we just started the journey together and it’s been, with my mom, it’s been really really good. She was my mom and dad growing up. She took care of us,” Humphrey said. “She paved the way for me really. She made sure I was good with everything. If I told her I wanted to do something she made sure it was done.”
Both women credited Grambling with offering them quality education and life-changing experiences.
“Grambling State has changed my life,” Jiles said in a statement. “I’m now educated and soon to be degreed! I have enjoyed every connection I have made here, finding friends for a lifetime and a plethora of knowledge about early childhood education. I’m very much grateful for that. I was inspired to become a child care worker/owner after being No. 2 of 10 siblings. I helped my mom raise my younger siblings and loved teaching them as well. So, I’ve kind of been doing it most of my life.”
“Coming to this institution has taught me leadership skills, time management, and how to grow as a young adult,” Humphrey said. “It also has taught me how to socialize with people after joining the prestigious sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc.”
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“In grade school, science was my favorite subject,” Humphrey continued. “We took a career path test my freshman year of high school and my results came back saying I should be in the health care field and I was invited to a school of medicine camp at the University of Houston, in Houston, Texas. We shadowed doctors and surgeons and I knew I wanted to major in biology when I got to college. So what I really want to do is become a pediatric dentist. Grambling has set me up to hopefully live out and realize that dream, and I’m so appreciative to the university and everyone here who’s helped me.”
The mother and daughter admitted attending college while navigating the covid-19 pandemic wasn’t easy, but they credited the faculty and staff at Grambling with helping them succeed.
“Organic chemistry was very hard for me due to covid and the classes being 100 percent online,” Humphrey said. “I’m more of a hands-on person, but the faculty and staff helped me tremendously. The biology department at Grambling State University is like family to me. They’ve helped me so much even in other areas. Dr. [Dagne] Hill and Ms. [Angela] McMurray were such a big help to me. Ms. Laquetta Anderson helped so much advising me for classes and Dr. [Gernerique] Stewart in the chemistry department helped me understand chemistry and I’m very thankful for that.”
Jiles explained the impact of having the additional responsibility of being a wife and mother while attending college.
“There were many difficulties I faced working and going to school,” Jiles said. “It was overwhelming at times being a wife and a working mother. There were long hours spent studying, not to mention that covid hit right when I enrolled at Grambling. I never got to enjoy my college experience, and I never even got to tour the campus. But thank God I made it this far, and I will continue.”
After graduation, Jiles plans to open her own child development center and Humphrey plans to apply to Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry.
Photo: Suzzon Jiles, left, and her daughter Trinity Humphrey. Credit: https://hbcubuzz.com/