TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - It was graduation day for dual enrollment students at Rio Salado College, and the pomp and circumstance ran in the family for a mother and her son who graduated together.
Dylan Mitcham is a high school student who’s getting a degree earlier than most people do, and at the same time his mom was getting her degree just a few years later than usual.
“This is the first time we’ve ever had a mom and a son graduate together, but we think it’s really inspiring,” EJ Anderson, director of Early College said.
The graduation was already a record night for Rio Salado. Among the 260 expected graduates this spring, 103 of them are dual-enrollment students who are getting associate degrees before even getting their high school diplomas.
Dylan couldn’t help but brag about his mom, Gigi Dixon.
“It’s pretty awesome,” he said. “I get to graduate with my mom. I’m pretty proud of her.”
Dixon started her degree years ago but never finished as she took on a music career. Then, even though she was working full-time, Dylan’s dual-enrollment in high school was the nudge she needed.
“I just did it. I just kept saying, ‘You can do it, you can do it. You’re smarter than you think you are,’” she said.
So now she’ll finally have an associate degree and Dylan will head to ASU in the fall as a junior by credits.
“For my mom there was a lot of difficulty in using the computers and doing all those online classes,” he said.
Dixon didn’t deny it.
“He didn’t tell about the time when he walks out and I’m crying and screaming, ‘I can’t do this!’”
That’s when Dylan reassured her with, "Yes you can, Mom!"
After all those years of mom helping son with homework it’s been Dylan’s unusual privilege to return the favor. He’s going to study computer engineering. He mentioned film, web design and video game creation as possible career options.