Belinda Berry, 62, became the personification of the phrase “lead by example” as she crossed the graduation stage of Chicago State University, only to be followed by her 25-year-old granddaughter, Karea.
The family duo both graduated on Thursday (Dec. 5), where they both received a bachelor’s degree – Belinda in business and Karea in criminal justice. Yet while this seems like a well-calculated maneuver, Karea explains to Chicago’s WLS that graduating with her grandmother was something that happened by chance.
“It was never planned,” Karea said. “We both enrolled in school and we didn’t know we were going to finish together because I was full-time and she was part-time, and it just worked out that way.”
And even though, Karea did at CSU, earned a degree in criminal justice with plans to start working toward her master’s in mental health counseling, it was her grandmother, Belinda, who stole the show.
Despite battles with her health, Belinda still managed to secure a 3.8 GPA and graduate at the top of her business class. And like her granddaughter, she too will attend graduate school, looking to eventually open her own fashion boutique.
This unique tale of perseverance is an unprecedented story at CSU, as Belinda and Karea became the first-ever grandmother/granddaughter tandem to graduate together in the school’s 150-year history. Brenda’s commendable accolade speaks to the school’s goal of providing a diverse atmosphere, as well as blaze a trail of motivation that Karea says she plans to follow, stating, “For her to come out on top more than me is amazing… she is my inspiration.”