With so many amazing and inspiring graduation stories out there right now, this one takes the cake hands down.
Single mother Jelina Sheppard, who recently graduated from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a degree in mathematics, celebrated her accomplishment by posting a pic of her hugging her 4-year-old son, Karter.
But her Facebook post went viral, which is no surprise given how its message will give you all the feels.
“For all those nights you had to fall asleep in the library, for all those times you had to watch cartoons alone because I needed to do homework, for the early mornings in daycare because I needed to be in class to being the last one there because I had to work, most importantly for the moments of separation because I needed to get this done, Thank you,” she wrote.
Like many mothers–single, dating or married–Sheppard’s story of sacrifice in order to get ahead and provide a better future for her son is one that may people can relate to. She also thanked Karter for being her inspiration.
“You are the motivation for my heart to keep beating. I love you more than words can say,” the recent grad, who received a cum laude distinction, wrote to her son. “I finished because you needed to see me do it. I’m not strong because I want to be, I’m strong because I’m your first example. We’ve seen a lot and overcame a lot more,” she concluded.
It’s important to point out that Sheppard’s road to getting her diploma wasn’t easy.
According to TODAY, Sheppard had Karter during her sophomore year of college and not too soon after, Karter’s father left them, forcing her to take online courses, which to her dismay, her scholarship didn’t cover. Not to mention, she lost credits, go behind in school, had to take time off and her car broke down right after she started going full-time again.
“I had to withdraw for the rest of the year and work as a substitute teacher instead to save up to get my car fixed,” Sheppard told TODAY.
But the aspiring math teacher stressed that she never gave up and kept pushing through. And now that school is over, she told the Huffington Post that she can’t wait to play with her son more. She also has plans on finishing “The Boy With No Shadow,” he book about a boy growing up without a father figure.
“Because I have completed this chapter in our lives, I know that anything is possible at this moment,” she said.
Preach. We wish Jelina and Karter all the luck in the world!