For the first time since 2019, students graduating from Georgia Piedmont Technical College were able to walk across a real stage and be recognized by a crowd of supporters and loved ones. The college’s commencement ceremony was held Saturday, May 20 at 10:00 a.m. at Springfield Baptist Church in Conyers. Georgia Piedmont Technical College reports 625 students qualified for graduation over the last academic year (summer and fall of 2022 and spring of 2023). The college awarded a total of 883 credentials: 121 degrees, 164 diplomas, and 598 technical certificates of credit.

Among the graduates were mother and daughter 55-year-old Kendrix Ladson and 26-year-old Alyeese Williams of Snellville. Ladson completed her associate of applied science degree in health information technology while Williams earned a diploma in early childhood care and education.

Kendrix Ladson and Alyeese Williams
Mom Kendrix Ladson (left) plants a kiss on her daughter Alyeese Williams. Both women walked at GPTC’s graduation ceremony on May 20, 2023.

Ladson is employed as a licensed practical nurse (LPN), having earned that diploma from GPTC several years ago. Like so many, the pandemic gave her time to do some soul-searching to figure out what comes next.

“I had time on my hands and I wanted to add on to the career I already had,” Ladson said. “I set a personal goal and I accomplished it. Now I am looking for either a bridge program to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing or continue to focus more on the technology side with health information technology or informatics.”

Both mother and daughter worked while attending school. They were each other’s support system, taking turns playing mom or grandmother to Williams’ three-year-old daughter, Journi.

Williams says not only was her mother a rock during this process, but she was her primary motivation to keep going.

“Her excitement moved me so much,” Williams said. “It gives me chills to see how it’s not how you start but how you finish. She’s proof that it’s never too late.”

Amazingly, the duo didn’t even realize they were able to graduate on the same day until January of this year.

“My instructor and I were reviewing what classes I took and what I had left, and a light bulb came on,” said Williams. “I said, ‘wait a minute. I can finish at the same time as my mom!’”

Both mother and daughter say they have already been approached by multiple organizations and have their choice of the next career step. Local NBC affiliate, 11 Alive, featured the duo on their morning show on Friday, May 19.

Congratulations to all!