All In the Family! A Dad, His Son and Daughter All Graduated Together With Master’s Degrees In Education From Mississippi State University

The Cole family achieved a dream together and got the chance to celebrate as a father, son, and daughter all earned their Master’s degrees in education from Mississippi State University (MSU).

WXXV reports Commondre Cole, 45, his son, Jacoby Cole, 25, and daughter Lesha Gully, 27, were all awarded master’s degrees at MSU’s 2022 commencement on May 12. The Cole family shares a love and passion for education and said it’s part of the bond they share.

“The love and passion for it, you’ve got to have the love and passion,” Commondre Cole said.

The father credits his wife, Jessica Gully-Cole, an educator, as the reason he went back to school to earn his master’s degree. She also convinced their children to follow in their footsteps. Jacoby Cole, who works as a physical education teacher in Meridian, Mississippi, said his dream was to be a coach, and it was his mother who told him coaching and teaching go hand-in-hand.

“I just wanted to coach, teach kids how to play baseball and things like that,” Cole told Atlanta Black Star. “Mom said you should just go into teaching because to be a coach, you need to be a teacher also, so she was like, ‘You might as well go ahead and get your education.’”

Meanwhile, Lesha Gully, a special needs teacher, took a different path to education as she studied criminal justice and held positions as a truck driver and a waitress before her mother’s words finally got to her.

Graduating together meant the three also took some of the same classes while earning their degrees, which made some of the challenges of earning a master’s degree easier.

Jacoby Cole added he and his father did a lot of group work together on Zoom and all three kept each other motivated, helping each other with assignments and informed on when assignments were due.

“It was almost like a competition, trying to have the highest GPA, have the highest grade on tests and assignments, and the teachers would always point that out,” Lesha Gully said, adding she slowed her coursework to graduate with her dad and brother.

Commondre Cole has 11 years of experience as a physical education teacher. Jacoby Cole is entering his third year as a physical education teacher. Lesha Gully teaches special needs children in second grade in Meridian.