Photo Courtesy of William Paterson University
This time last week, 27-year-old Benjamin Jeanty and his 63-year-old father Duvinson shared a special father-son moment that they’ll probably never forget. They both received their degree from New Jersey’s William Paterson University and together, became the first in their family to graduate from college.
Benjamin's father, who migrated to the United States from Haiti in 1983, started the journey to earn his bachelor's degree in finance 10 years ago, when Benjamin was still in high school.
"That was my junior year," Benjamin said. "It was a lot on the family... But he still saw the need to pursue an education for himself. And that marked me. So because of that I started to develop a desire, a passion, to go."
After Benjamin graduated from high school, he went on to attend Rutgers University, but after a year, decided to leave to pursue a career in the restaurant industry full time. However, still impacted by his father's decision to go back to school, three years later, Benjamin found himself following his father's example and returning to college.
While he was a pursuing a degree in psychology and working part-time at a special needs school, his father Duvinson was still taking classes and working as a NJ transit bus driver. The father-son duo never thought they would attend the same school, let alone graduate together; however, after Benjamin transferred to William Paterson University last year, that's exactly what happened.
"I thought that I’d be the first to graduate," Benjamin said. "But being with my father graduating together, it means that much more."
Upon graduation, Benjamin started working full-time at a special needs school, and his father is now running his own real estate business. This fall, Duvinson's daughter and Benjamin's sister will start her senior year at the same university.
It looks like these two just started an incredible family tradition.