KILLEEN, Texas: Shoemaker High School senior Deona Roberts is like many of her classmates nationwide in that she has been devastated by losing the last few months of her high school career and potentially a chance at walking across the stage at graduation. She is unlike her colleagues, however, in that her mom also knows the pain.
Tasha Roberts has been working on her degree at Texas A&M Central Texas for years and completed it earlier this month. The two have been looking forward to graduating together for over a year, only to see their chances of a proper ceremony evaporate.
“Yeah it was really just super exciting, getting to graduate with my mom like it’s not just my experience, it’s ours,” Deona Roberts said. “As proud as she was of me, I was the same back to her.”
Tasha Roberts always wanted to complete her degree, but put it on hold after joining the U.S. Army to serve her country and starting a family soon after.
“It’s something that I always wanted to do but early on I decided to join the military so I kind of put my dreams and goals of college on the back burner,” Tasha Roberts said. “Recently I decided to, along with one of my supervisors at the University of Texas, that, you know, I’ve taken so many college classes I may as well go ahead and seal the deal.”
Even without being able to walk for her own graduation, her attention was immediately drawn to her daughter.
In fact, knowing her daughter might not get a proper ceremony was more important.
“Honestly, I think I took it a little harder than she did,” Tasha Roberts said. “Initially, she was really hurt but I think that after a while, kids are resilient so she kind of like bounced back where as I was still in a slump like ‘I really wish she could experience this.'”
Tasha Roberts gave her daughter as much of the experience as she could, including a prom at the house, complete with a DJ, a dance floor, and even a dinner.
Looking back on the experience, the feelings of pride are mutual.
“I just feel like it’s been a huge dream and a dream for her to accomplish actually getting her degree,” Deona Roberts said. “It was really nice to see her fulfill her dreams.”
Deona Roberts is set to graduate virtually tomorrow and will be attending Huston Tillotson University in the fall. She will follow in her mother’s military footsteps by joining the school’s Army ROTC program.