MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This Sunday will be extra special for a Twin Cities mother and daughter.
Graduation at the University of Minnesota falls on Mother’s Day this year.
Sora Samejima will be earning her diploma – right beside her mother, Kyle Samejima.
“It’ll be fun to see all her friends graduate with her,” Sora said. “It’ll be really fun to sort of walk across the stage together.”
When Kyle graduated from high school years ago, she started taking college courses part-time while working as a sous chef. Then life happened: she got married, had three daughters and both college and her career were put on hold.
“I call it my 25-year degree program,” Kyle said.
Four years ago, Kyle decided to go back to school. She enrolled at the U to study sustainability issues. It just so happened that her daughter was also enrolling to study child psychology.
“She’s basically a straight-A student so she worked really hard. She worked too hard, oh my goodness!” Sora said.
Over the past four years, mother and daughter would become study buddies at home. And they would get excited when they would randomly see each other on campus.
“Honestly, it was so special because I yelled, ‘That’s my daughter!’ And we ran towards each other down the street,” Kyle said. “It was really sweet.”
What will be even sweeter is that this Sunday — instead of flowers and cards — Kyle and Sora will receive college diplomas within minutes of each other.
“It’ll be a priceless moment. It’ll definitely be a priceless moment,” Kyle said.
It’s a perfect Mother’s Day, decades in the making.
“She made a lot of sacrifices. Put off school and raised us and gave us such a great childhood experience,” Sora said. “And I’m just so proud that she is finishing it now with me.”
Her daughter’s love and support outweighs any diploma.
“That’s the best thing a mother can hear,” Kyle said. “That’s all I need.”
Sora plans to go to grad school in the fall to get a master’s degree in occupational therapy.
Kyle wants to go into advocacy, possibly working for a nonprofit that focuses on environmental issues.
Here’s another cool thing: Kyle’s oldest daughter also graduates from nursing school this month.
And Sora’s younger sister, the baby of the family, graduates from high school.