Meet Indya Thomas, a former teen mom, and her 17-year-old son Kamau, who are celebrating having graduated from Georgia State University together. Indya was told for years that would never be successful.
“I had Kamau when I was 17 years old. We did not have a lot of people that supported me having him so young. I was told that I would never graduate from high school, let alone college. I was told I was going to ruin his life. So, it really gives me a lot of strength that we are here together,” Thomas told Blavity.
Instead of losing hope, Thomas used her difficult circumstances as a motivation for her to succeed. She managed to secure a good job that offered tuition reimbursement. She took that opportunity and enrolled in classes at Georgia State University, where she pursued a major in marketing and a minor in hospitality.
“They only cover certain schools in the university system. So, it was either Georgia State or UGA. I had to make a choice, and I wanted to do in-person classes, so Georgia State was a natural choice for me. It’s just fate,” Thomas said. “My path is going to be more service marketing. I know one thing is for certain I want to be a good role model for him.”
True enough, Thomas was able to inspire her son, who decided to enroll at the university while she was attending classes there. Although they didn’t have any classes together, their love and support for each other led them together to a significant milestone in their lives.
Most recently, the mother and son duo graduated from GSU on the same weekend, Thomas with her bachelor’s degree and Gomes with an associate degree from his dual enrollment at Georgia State through DeKalb County Early College Academy.
“I don’t think there are words to capture the amount of pride and just humility and love I have for this experience. Honestly, if there was a lifetime of living this one moment, that would be enough,” Thomas said.
Moreover, Gomes, who plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology and exercise in sports science at GSU, is also thankful for receiving a Gates scholarship worth $1,000 toward his tuition.
“This was so spontaneous,” Gomes said. “This really was a coincidence, but I am appreciative of it. I am grateful for it.”