Marie and Kelly Payne of Westerleigh will have good cause for a double celebration on Thursday June 6, 2002. The mother – daughter pair will walk across the stage at the College of Staten Island to receive their bachelor degrees together at the College of Staten Island’s 26th annual commencement exercises.
Four years ago, Kelly Payne, the second of five children to Marie Payne began to pursue her SLS (Science, Letters & Society) degree at the College of Staten Island. Inspired by her daughter, Mrs. Payne, who had taken continuing education classes at the College, decided to enroll as a full-time student the following semester. This mother and daughter have always been close and shared many experiences, such as a family love for softball, but over the past four years the pair shared much more, an education.
Mrs. Payne realized about one year ago that she had the potential to graduate with her daughter. She had to double up her course load and take summer classes to accomplish becoming a member of the Class of 2002, along with her daughter Kelly. But, for Mrs. Payne it was worth it. Her dream of graduating from college was made even more special by being able to realize her dream on the same day as her daughter. On this topic Kelly honestly states “I must admit, at first I was a little jealous that I would have to share this time with someone, but once I saw how proud my mother was, (to receive her degree), I was overwhelmed with pride myself.”
Though the Payne’s never actually took classes together, they could never fit their schedules together, they did help each other through the trials of college. They helped each other with homework, proofread papers for one another and were there for one another when things got tough. Kelly says attending college with her mother not only strengthened their bond as mother and daughter it allowed them to discover a new friendship.
After graduation, Mrs. Payne, who is now completing an internship at the United Nations plans to pursue her degree in Political Science. Kelly Payne is already registered to continue her education. Kelly will began the pursuit of her Master’s Degree in Education in the fall of 2002 at the College of Staten Island.