NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Rafael and Adameliz Gomez are proving that it's never too late to achieve your dreams when they walked Stephen F. Austin State University's graduation stage alongside their daughter.
"I knew the whole time they were going to graduate at some point, but I didn't know it was going to be all at the same time," said Kelly Gomez who received her bachelor's degree Saturday afternoon.
For her parents this day was a celebration of their hard work. They said through the last several years they all worked as a team to accomplish this milestone.
"It was so difficult, we were both working full time, but it was also cool because everyone was involved in each other's education," Ada said. "It is just the perfect example that if you want to do something all you have to do is work hard, and set your mind to it."
Her parents moved from Colombia to the United States to start a family, but never lost sight of the importance of education.
"I asked my parents, 'Why did you want to go back to school', and they said they wanted to show me that it was possible," Kelly said. "They wanted to show me that it's not the end if you don't get a degree at a certain time, that it's always possible no matter your age."
Rafael and Ada said they are grateful for this time in their family's life because it brought them closer together.
"Usually when you think of your kids graduating high school it can feel like you are losing them, but in this case even though she went away, we were closer than ever," Rafael said.
But this isn't the first time the couple has celebrated a commencement ceremony together. In 1982 they graduated from the same high school in their home country.
"They were high school sweethearts in Colombia, and they married and moved to the United States. Then they had my sister and I," Kelly said. "I guess that's when life got in the way, but they never let it stop them completely."
Her father majored in General Business, and her mother walked away with a degree in Elementary Education. Since the two were both working full time jobs while taking classes, all of their studies have been online.
Kelly received her degree in International Business, and graduated early. She said she owes her success to the support system she has at home.
"I feel very blessed to have the parents I have, they taught me if you have a goal than you set your mind to it, and achieve it," Kelly said. "They are the reason I was able to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time."
Kelly's older sister now lives in Italy with her husband who is in the military. She was unable to be there for their graduation, but watched her sister and parents walk the stage via Facetime.
"That was such a special moment for me, since I graduated in the morning ceremony I had our other daughter on Facetime, and our grandson got to watch both of them cross the stage," Ada said.
Moving forward Kelly said she hopes her parents story of triumph will show others that they can do anything they set their minds too.
"It doesn't matter how old, or what you've done in your life. There is always a possibility of getting that degree, and pursuing bigger things," Kelly said.
Kelly said the sky is the limit for she and her parents. They will begin the next phase of their lives side-by-side once again applying for jobs.