A 60-year-old grandmother from Philadelphia is living proof that it’s never too late to chase your dreams. A few years ago, Rhonda E. Davis made it a priority to go back to school and get her college degree and she went above and beyond her goal by not only earning two degrees from Cheyney University but graduating as the institution’s Class of 2019 valedictorian, Philly.com reported.
The commencement ceremony was a culmination of a long journey for Davis. Pursuing her education was no easy feat. Davis’ mother had her at the age of 16. She was the oldest of six children and once she was a teenager she had to start working to help provide for her younger siblings. Her education was ultimately put on the back burner. Davis eventually started a family of her own and once her kids got older and her husband started working with SEPTA, she wanted to try something new and believed that education was the answer.
After telling her husband that she planned on going to college to earn her degree, he decided to leave her. The lack of support didn’t stop the grandmother of 11 from going after what she wanted. She was awarded a scholarship through Cheyney University’s Keystone Honors Academy. Davis left her Southwest Philadelphia house and lived on campus where she became a source of inspiration for many of her fellow students. She would often tutor other students and give them advice about staying on the right track. At Cheyney, Davis displayed academic excellence. She earned a degree in graphic design and one in fine arts and finished with a 3.97 GPA.
Her children and grandchildren were all in attendance at her commencement ceremony and her mother live-streamed the event from her Virginia Beach home. For Davis, the graduation was a full circle moment. She visited the HBCU in the 70s and loved the school. As for what’s on the horizon for Davis, she plans on growing her jewelry box business and creating children’s books. Her educational journey isn’t coming to an end anytime soon. Davis wants to pursue her master’s degree in fine arts. She hopes that her story inspires others to take charge of their lives. “Nothing changes, if nothing changes,” she said during her speech at the graduation ceremony. “You have to be the person who initiates that change.”