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Mother-son duo works together, graduates together

Dressed in identical gowns, both Melva Green and her 29-year-old son, Kevin, walked across the same stage to receive degrees in health-care management from Mount Olive College. Those'll come in handy at Pitt Memorial Hospital, where they both work.

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WASHINGTON, N.C. — A Pitt County mother and son got an early but well-deserved Christmas gift Saturday: bachelor degrees.

Dressed in identical gowns, Melva Green and her 29-year-old son, Kevin, walked across the stage during the same graduation ceremony at Mount Olive College.

They received the same degree – health-care management – which will come in handy at Pitt Memorial Hospital – where they both work.

"Kevin and I have always been very close," Melva Green said. "It is important to have someone to support, understand and believe in what you are doing."

"It was exciting to walk across the stage for me, but even more exciting to see my mom graduate," Kevin Green said.

It's been a long road to commencement for both mother and son: Melva Green, a wife and mother of four, and Kevin Green, a husband and father of three.

Melva Green put her education on hold while she raised her children and spent 27 years working as a patient-access representative at Pitt Memorial. She got her GED in 1975 and her associate degree from Pitt Community College 19 years later. She began classes at Mount Olive's Washington campus in 2006.

"It was a big step for me to return to college after raising a family and working full-time," Melva Green said. "It is hard work and requires determination and self-confidence, but in the end, it is well worth the effort."

Her son returned to college only four years after getting his associate degree from Pitt Community College, but finding time to squeeze in classes between the duties of marriage and fatherhood was a challenge. All the while, he worked as a cardiovascular technician in the radiology department at Pitt Memorial.

But Kevin Green says he's already seeing the benefits and planning for the future.

"The health-care management program at Mount Olive College allowed me to concentrate on one class at a time, and the classes fit perfectly with my busy schedule," he said. "I already see a lot of jobs that I qualify for now that I did not in the past, because I did not have my four-year degree. I am also in a position to obtain my masters degree to even further expand my qualifications."

Melva and Kevin Green took one class together and credited each other for giving unwavering support.

"When we would get burned out from studying or doing a paper assignment, we would say, 'Hang in there; it's not long now,'" Melva Green said. "Thanks to God we have hung in there."

The Greens weren't the only graduates with a family connection at Mount Olive's graduation on Saturday. Husband and wife, Darrell and Felicia DeVane, of Clinton, each received degrees.

Felicia DeVane, a nurse at Clinton Medical Clinic, received a bachelor’s degree in health care management. She plans to continue her education by attending the Alternate Entry BSN-MSN program UNC-Chapel Hill in hopes of one day becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

Darrell DeVane is a mail carrier for U.S. Postal Service in Clinton. He has already put forth effort into enrolling into the University of Phoenix's master's program in Criminal Justice with hopes of one day teaching at Mount Olive College.

The couple has five children: Darrell II, 8; Jayda, 8; Gennell, 7; ShaNya, 5; and Heaven Leigh, 3.

Also on Saturday, Sandra Smith, 46, and her daughter, Jennifer Smith, 27, both of Jacksonville, graduated Mount Olive College, each with bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice Administration.

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Anne Johnson, Web Editor

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