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North Carolina Mom & Daughter Graduate From Nursing School Exactly 13 Years Apart

North Carolina Mom & Daughter Graduate From Nursing School Exactly 13 Years Apart

The daughter also graduated from the program her mom created!

Dr. Dorothy Miller was just 15-years-old when she gave birth to her daughter Shaquita Bandy, WRAL news reports. Growing up in the small neighborhood of Pinetops, North Carolina, Miller recalled her humble beginnings and how she survived with the help of her own mother. 

“We came from a lower socioeconomic background. When I got pregnant, I was in ninth grade…I had a wonderful mother when I was going through all that at 15. Her goal for me was to not stop school. I had my child on a Friday, and my mother made sure I was in school that next Monday,” Miller recalled. 

While some doubted the possibilities for her becoming a teenage mother, Miller knew she had a bright future ahead, setting her sights on becoming a nurse or a police officer. When she finished high school, she left 5-year-old Bandy with her mother and joined the military. When her service was complete, she began working two jobs while attending nursing school full time so she could support Bandy and her other children. 

“I got my associate degree, and then I got my bachelor’s degree and my master’s, and then I got my PhD, and then another master’s. So I haven’t stopped going to school at any point,” Miller explained. 

Today, she serves as department chair of health sciences at St. Andrews University. In 2021, Miller launched the first nursing school at St. Andrews and this past May, her daughter Bandy became the first graduate of the nursing program. Bandy enrolled in the nursing school, taking classes taught by her mother and other professors and working overtime to obtain her degree. While it was challenging, Bandy said it was worth it. As they called the graduates’ names alphabetically, it was a full circle moment as she became the very first student to graduate from the program created by her mother. 

“She gave me everything I needed to make sure I’m successful. You can imagine the pressure, though, coming through a program that was just established by your mother, being the first one to graduate, trying to make sure that you keep the program going…it’s tremendous pressure, but they say pressure makes diamonds,” said Bandy. 

A few weeks after graduation, the mother and daughter duo were at a local car wash when they discovered a surprising fact about their journeys, both of them had graduated on the same day exactly 13 years apart. 

“It is interesting because we were at the car wash, washing the car, and her degree was laying in the trunk. So I opened it and I said, ‘Did you know that you graduated on May 7th?’ And she was like, ‘Really?’ Then I opened mine and I was like, ‘We graduated on the same day!,’” Bandy exclaimed. 

The serendipitous moment was just another reminder that everything works for the good and despite their challenging journey, they have indeed made it!. Currently, Bandy works in the intensive care unit at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst, and her mom Miller is running for the North Carolina Board of Nursing. Miller hopes to address the shortage of nurses in small towns while continuing to make a huge impact on her students and children. She credits her children with motivating her to become as successful as she has and hopes that they will follow her path and do great things as well. 

“Nobody should be able to tell you what your future is. What some people saw as a mistake, having a child so young, to me was a catalyst. I think that if I hadn’t been given the opportunity to have that child, I wouldn’t have accomplished what I did…That has always been my goal, for my kids to do better than I did. And people telling you you can’t do something or you’re not qualified to me is just an open door to say, let me show you,” Miller explained!

Congratulations Nurse Bandy and Dr. Miller! 

Cover photo: North Carolina mom & daughter graduate from nursing school exactly 13 years apart/Photo Courtesy of WRAL news