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A TCC first: 4 siblings to graduate on the same day

Geri Guzman has five children, and four of them will walk across the stage on Dec. 19 at Tidewater Community College’s 61st Commencement Exercises at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

“It will be one of my proudest moments,” said Geri Guzman, who set off the chain reaction by completing her own education at age 50, first with a GED followed by an Associate of Science in Business from TCC.

The fifth, Bobbie Guzman Healey, will graduate in spring 2016.

Four siblings graduating from one institution on the same day is not a common occurrence. How rare is it? Back in 2001, four siblings graduated the same day from Brigham Young University.

Geri Guzman was just six months shy of high school graduation when she quit after having her daughter.

Four more children followed with husband Dave, and while he pursued the Navy, she took care of the family.

Encouraged by all of them along with her sister, Betty, she completed her GED at the Adult Learning Center in Virginia Beach. At the graduation ceremony, she learned she was the recipient of a $500 TCC scholarship.

“I was just floored,” she said.

Geri didn’t plan to use it, but again, Dave and her children, all Lake Taylor High School graduates, insisted.

Initially anxious about college, she recalled, “Everyone made me feel comfortable at TCC. I became friends with so many people there – students and professors. It was almost like family.”

Geri graduated from TCC with honors and transferred to Old Dominion University as a finance/accounting major. Eventually she hopes to work in a small office environment.

One by one, her children followed her to TCC, taking advantage of the flexible scheduling that allowed them to combine careers with college:

“It was so convenient for them,” Geri said. “They all have families. They all work. And TCC has given them the opportunity to pick schedules to work around their family and jobs.”

All will graduate with honors.

“My mom definitely was the inspiration,” said Healy, 37, working toward her Associate of Applied Science with a Specialization in Medical Administrative Assistant.

Added Geri, “December 19th, 2015, will be one of the proudest days of our lives thanks to TCC. We couldn’t have asked for a better college.”

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