These GCU parents have a special view of graduation

December 16, 2019 / by / 0 Comment

By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau

Grand Canyon University graduates often share a lot with their parents, from personality traits to life views and interests. But 2019 Winter Commencement graduates Sydney Teerink and Tori Triguero now share something even more with them — the accomplishment of being a GCU graduate.

It wasn’t the original plan for Teerink, a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurial Studies graduate, and her mother, Master of Business Administration graduate and Grand Canyon Education Employee Ra’Lene, to share the same alma mater, much less the same graduation year. But Ra’Lene sums up the convergence of all those things in four words: “God had a plan.”

After Sydney started her program, and after working in an environment that allowed her to be a part of the energy of a university, Ra’Lene decided it was the perfect time to fulfill her dream of receiving an MBA.

Ra’Lene (left) and Sydney Teerink (right) both graduated with business degrees from GCU in 2019.

Ra’Lene and Sydney, both business majors, studied together, helped each other with questions on assignments, and even spent time together on campus. They completed the bulk of their programs together but didn’t expect to finish their degrees within such a short time frame of each other.

“I graduated in April, and I thought she was going to graduate a year from now. But then she said, ‘I want to be done early’ and took some summer school classes and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh. That’s kind of cool that two family members can graduate from the same school, same university and the same college within the same year,’” Ra’Lene said. “She was really supportive, because when you have those trying moments in whatever degree you’re pursuing, it’s really good to have someone that really is in the middle of it all and say, ‘Oh, I understand why she’s grumpy today.’”

Sydney, who lived on campus for her first three years of and decided to commute from her home with her parents to campus for her last semester, said going through undergraduate process with her mom kept the pair close.

“I think that it’s just a really great way of showing that it’s crazy, but God has a plan for everyone, and He definitely had a plan for us,” Sydney said. “Being here at the same time with each other and everything that we went through, I don’t know if I could have done it without her being here. I don’t think I could have finished it without her and without my family.”

For Ra’Lene’s mother, Beverly, who traveled from Idaho to watch her daughter graduate earlier this year and is back again to watch her granddaughter, it’s been a year of immense pride.

“I think it’s amazing,” she said. “I think it was meant to be.”

Now that they have marked their degrees off their bucket list, Sydney plans to work in marketing for a financial services company. Ra’Lene hopes to continue her growth and learning, wherever life takes her.

Father-daughter academic duo

Tori Triguero always had an interest in attending GCU, since she had attended a nearby high school. But that interest blossomed after watching her father, Dan, graduate with his Bachelor of Science in Business Management in 2017. At the time, she was attending Glendale Community College and decided GCU would be where she would receive her Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

As Tori’s journey at GCU began, Dan decided to take that extra step in furthering his education by pursuing his Master of Science in Leadership degree. Now as the final round of 2019 Commencement ceremonies wrapped up, the pair got to add 2019 GCU graduate to their list of accomplishments.

Dan (left) and Tori Triguero helped each other push through their degree programs.

Dan, having been through a GCU undergraduate program, was a source of support for his oldest daughter when she needed help with the ins and outs of the University. Tori provided the same kind of support for her dad when he needed peer editing or help with APA format, a writing style commonly used for academic papers.

“I went into GCU not knowing anybody. I just went as a commuter and didn’t really have any friends there because I don’t live on campus. It’s just been my classmate buddies,” Tori said. “So I feel like, going into it knowing I have him there next to me … (was nice). He’s my friend, too, so I feel like that was better than if I’m just by myself and didn’t really know anyone.”

For Dan, watching his daughter graduate from college and getting to be so involved in her experience gave him a sense of pride.

“She’s my daughter. She’s the first to graduate college and then being there and a part of it, I’m just honored, really.”

Tori and Dan took classes on campus and online and often missed each other on campus, since Dan’s classes were in the evening and Tori’s were in the daytime. Still, watching each other push through the academic challenges was a source of inspiration for both of them.

Tori hopes to get a job as a University Admissions Counselor, while Dan hopes his master’s degree will put him on track to becoming a manager at the Salt River Project (SRP), where he works.

Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected]


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