Mother, son defy odds and graduate together with PhDs

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 First at Five/ Thursday, Sept. 26th, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A local mom and her son have achieved great heights in education, but it didn't come easily. The pair recently earned their PhDs on the very same day, a goal that seemed impossible when their long journey began.

"Never in a thousand, million, trillion years [did I expect to get my PhD]. The thought of becoming a doctor anyone was far fetched," said Dr. Maurice McBride.

He got his diploma at a ceremony in Minneapolis, MN in August, but the day wasn't just about his accomplishment. It was about sharing the stage with his mother.

"I never thought I would get chance to see my mother walk across the stage and then she turned around and saw me walk across the stage," he said.

It was a day that seemed nearly impossible considering where they started.

"At the age of 13 I got pregnant with Maurice," said Dr. Vickie McBride.

She was a young mother growing up in Waynesboro. She said, "It was shunned upon and of course the older people in the community were whispering."

But that didn't stop her or her mother. Vickie stayed in school while her mother, a retired teacher, helped out with Maurice.

"As a teenager I continued my education. That was never an option," explained Vickie.

She made it to college and graduate school all while raising Maurice and eventually 3 other children.

"I had to figure out how to work and how to parent and how to manage school all at the same time." she said.

Maurice had his own struggles. At just 16 years old he dropped out of high school.

"[I] started hanging out with some of the wrong people and got into some trouble," he explained.

After ending up in a juvenile probation facility he knew it was time to turn his life around. He said, "I picked up the bible and I started reading and I was like it all makes sense. I see how it actually comes to fruition. I see how I ended up here."

He got his GED and then pursued a music career. He signed a record deal with Capital Records, but he never stopped his education. It was something that was instilled in him by his mother and grandmother.

"As a recording artist I also attended school online," said Maurice.

He kept going after he left the music world. He went on to graduate school, becoming a professor at Paine College and then one day he called his mom.

"I said 'hey I think I'm gonna get my PhD. You wanna do this with me?' 'No that's okay. You bumped your head, but you can go ahead and you can do it. I'm done with school'," he recalled.

After talking it over, they decided to do it together. Vickie graduated with her PhD in K-12 Education and Maurice in Organizational Management from Capella University.

"I didn't let my situation define who I was. I defined my situation. I looked at my situation and I told situation this is where we are going and this is what we are doing," said Vickie.

A proud day for both a mother and a son.

"I was so proud of him because I knew where he had come from," said Vickie.

"This is who she really is despite what she's been through," said Maurice. "This is how I've always seen her and now I'm like 'hey look this is her' with the cape and the supermommy uniform."

And they want their story to be a lesson to those struggling now.

"For those who have gone through [tough situations]. You can be successful. You can be anything. You can do anything once you make up your mind that that is what you want to do. Set a goal and go for it," said Vickie.

Maurice says he wants his mother to write a book with him about their story. He's also working to convince her to go to law school but she says she'll sit that one out. She just plans to be in the audience for that graduation.

They are both working as teachers now. Vickie teaches middle school and college in Virginia and Maurice is a professor of business at Paine College.


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