Benjamin Jeanty, 27, said he was a senior in high school when his father, a Haitian immigrant, Duvinson Jeanty, 63, decided to go to college, who was 53 years old at the time.
Watching his dad walk across the stage and receive his diploma was an indescribable feeling, he said.
“Never in a million years did I ever dream of going to school with my father,” Jeanty added.
“He was my biggest cheerleader and inspiration. There were sometimes I’d come home from work or class late and I’d see him studying and it would encourage me.”
On Friday morning, they both got their diplomas — Ben in psychology and Duvinson in finance.
“It was amazing,” Benjamin Jeanty told Fox News, just hours after he and his dad, Duvinson, moved their tassels from right to left at their graduation ceremony at William Paterson University.
Duvinson emigrated to the U.S. from Haiti in the 1980s. He didn’t have a high school diploma, but decided in 2007 to take classes.
Duvinson then graduated graduated with an associate’s degree four years ago. After that, he retired from his job as a bus driver and enrolled full-time to study finance.
“He was taking one class at a time because he was working a full-time job and taking care of my grandmother,” Benjamin said. He gave us the example that we should always look to better ourselves.”
“I starting making good money, and making money is cool, but how am I serving the community? How am I helping others?” he said.Jeanty went back to college and enrolled part-time while working at a special needs school. Meanwhile, his father continued to take classes at William Paterson University while working as a N.J. Transit bus driver. Jeanty transferred to the university last year.
“I thought I was going to finish before him becuase I thought I knew it all back then,” Jeanty said.
“Graduation was unbelievable. This morning I was getting so emotional getting ready and listening to my favorite song,” Jeanty recalled.
Jeanty said he will be working full-time at the special needs school after graduation. His father, who is also looking to get his masters in finance, will be running his real estate company he started.
Way to go!