Mom Jacqueline Griffin and daughter Jacqueline Griffin graduate from BCC together

Jacqueline Griffin the mother is known as “Jackie.” Jacqueline Griffin the daughter is known as “Christina.” They’re known for mirroring each other in other ways too, including graduating from college together.

Mother and daughter, who happen to share the same birthday, received associates’ degrees Dec. 17 from Brevard Community College in Melbourne, an act of educational togetherness that started when Christina Griffin was in middle school and gave her mother a birthday note telling her she had to promise to attend college with her daughter.

“I never thought much about it, and then it actually happened. She had given me this card many, many years ago. She said I had to promise to go to college with her and get my degree. That’s ultimately what wound up happening. So we will graduate at the same time,” 52-year-old Jackie Griffin says.

So they took classes together, studied together and ended up walking the stage at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts together at graduation. Now they’re headed to the University of Central Florida for bachelors’ degrees, together, as part of the BCC 2-Plus-2 Program.

Not bad for a mother of three who could not attend college at the normal time because, she was forced to work to support herself when she was 17 years old. She received her GED a few years ago, she says.

“It was always important. When I got the opportunity I said, ‘I’m going to do it.’ I thought I was too old for the classes, but I was more than welcome. The help BCC offers is just incredible. The people have been wonderful. You don’t feel old. Everyone makes you feel like you’re one of the students.”

The devoted parent also is a devoted sibling.

Jackie Griffin says she also went on with her education in honor of her sister, Joycelyn “Sweetie” Steffey, who recently died of pancreatic cancer.

“She said, ‘I always wanted that degree. That’s the one thing I regret that I didn’t do.’ I said, ‘Well I’m going to do it for both of us.’ It was a double inspiration for me to go,” Griffin says.

The inspiration of sister and daughter did pay off, as Jackie Griffin graduated with a perfect grade point average.

“It’s very special. Back then, I didn’t think that it was possible. It’s just a dream come true all the way around.”