Courtesy of Tyesha Vinson
Courtesy of Tyesha Vinson

By TYESHA VINSON, Guest Writer

When most people think of their parents and their school days, they think of them as these ancient people that went to school in the land before time. They never dream of going to school with a parent, much less graduating with them. The reality for Chelsea Quintal is just that.

She spends every Tuesday and Thursday going to school with her mother, Colleen Quintal, and she will be graduating with her April 28th of this year. A mother and daughter graduating together isn’t something you see everyday.

Chelsea Quintal has always wanted to attend the University of Michigan–Dearborn, but due to her circumstances she thought it would be best to attend Wayne State University for two years. Once Chelsea finished her two years at Wayne State, she had to decide her next move. That’s when she found out what her mother had planned.

Years after receiving an associate’s degree in Computer Information Systems, Colleen Quintal decided to continue her education at the Henry Ford Community College to get used to the idea of being a student again. After a year, she decided that being a UM-D graduate was her goal.

Chelsea said, “Once she told me she was coming here, I was like “I have to go!” It was like…well I wanted to go there. If she goes there, then I’ll never know what it was like and she’ll be talking about it. So that’s how I decided I was coming.”

Their first day of school sounded like a mother sending her child off to kindergarten for the first time, but Chelsea played the role of the mother. Colleen said of her experience as she searched for CASL, “She met me there, she walked me to my classroom, she showed me how to get there, she gave me a hug and a kiss, and said “I’ll see you in an hour and a half.”

Colleen and Chelsea are currently working on their degrees and planning for their futures. Colleen is getting her bachelor’s degree in Health Policy Studies and she hopes to someday help Medicare and Medicaid get the help they deserve. Chelsea is studying Accounting and her goal is to become a Certified Public Accountant.

They both have very admirable goals and their continued support for one another is what keeps them going. Colleen said, “There’s a healthy competition that makes us want to strive harder and do well.”

Colleen and Chelsea enjoy their unique situation. Everything from classes they’ve had together to ceremonies for the Golden Key and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Colleen said, “Its been nothing but a positive experience. She has given me a lot of just invaluable advice.”

One would think that after years of being under parental control going to school with her mother would put a strain on their relationship, but it did just the opposite. Chelsea said, “I think we’re closer and I think the rest of our family like…thinks its annoying.”

This experience has strengthened a bond between a mother and daughter and it has given them the opportunity to call each other not just family, but classmates. They will leave UM-D with more than their own accomplishments to be proud of.

As for celebrations, Colleen has made it very clear that it is her family’s turn to throw her a party. She said, “I’ve told everybody that I’ve thrown enough family parties. It’s their turn and we’re going to have a joint party and it’s going to be a big one.”


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