Mother and Son Walk Together at Graduation

Mother and son graduate together
Melanie and her son, Daniel at Terra State's May 2019 graduation ceremony.

It is not every day one sees a parent and their child graduate together, but that is exactly what happened May 10 at Terra State’s Commencement Ceremony when Melanie DeLaHamaide and her son Daniel Gerwin II walked across the stage.

Melanie graduated from Fremont Ross High School and enrolled at, what used to be, Providence College in Sandusky, Ohio. After five months, she decided to withdraw to focus on her family and start working.

Daniel will be graduating from Fremont Ross High School in June. Because of Terra State College's Credit Plus (CCP) program, he was able to obtain his associate's degree before graduating high school. He enjoyed the challenge and variation of taking college and high school classes at the same time.

Being able to go through college together has increased that proud feeling tenfold for both Melanie and Daniel. “I'm so very proud of Daniel and although I am the parent, I've learned more from him and his siblings than I could ever teach them,” said Melanie. “I’m proud of her for graduating,” said Daniel. “I know she’s been looking forward to this and she’s always looking to grow in something. So, to see her be able to graduate and for us to be able to graduate together—that’s amazing.”

Melanie has always been interested in furthering her education. “I really like school and I’ve always enjoyed learning and growing. Life took turns that I wasn’t planning and I wanted to prove to my kids that you can do anything you put your mind to.”

Because of her interest in learning and because there was no more room to grow at her previous job, Melanie decided to try college again and attain a degree. Terra State was a perfect choice for her because it is local and affordable. “I’m a single mom, I had to keep working and I needed my support system, my family who lives in the area, to do it,” she said.

Contrary to popular belief, Daniel thought it was “pretty cool” having his mom taking college classes at the same time as him. They even took some of the same online classes, which allowed them to study together on occasion.

“This is truly a big blessing to be able to do this with my mom,” Daniel said. “It’s really exciting that she was able to get that second chance, for a mom especially, to go back to school and follow her dreams.”

This fall, Daniel will be transferring his credits and attending Bowling Green State University to study Nursing.

Melanie is the Billing Specialist at Mosser Construction. “Just a few months ago, the job I’m at now just kind of fell in my lap,” she said. “Mosser is a company I feel like I can grow in and I’m a lot happier there. Going to school has helped me build my confidence, which I really needed.”

Both Daniel and Melanie are busy preparing for their futures. Melanie will be helping Daniel move in at BGSU, getting her ninth grade son prepared for Terra State’s CCP Program and taking care of the rest of her kids. Daniel has kept busy volunteering at church and working at the YMCA.

One piece of advice Melanie wants to leave students is: “Never give up on your dreams. No matter the obstacles or sacrifices, with a little self-confidence, and when you have a support system—no matter how big or small, goals can be met!”