Keeping graduation in the family

23:51, May 22 2014
Ina and Stephanie Strydom
FAMILY CELEBRATION: Mother and daughter Ina and Stephanie Strydom will be graduating together from WITT.

A family that studies together stays together, as mother-and-daughter Ina and Stephanie Strydom can testify.

Both Ina, 59, and Stephanie, 24, graduate from Witt today with a degree each in applied social science after three years of hard work.

Ina was inspired to give the course a go after she heard Stephanie discussing it with a friend.

"It stirred up a passion in me that I had a long time ago," she said.

Ina, of New Plymouth, is a nurse at a Stratford rest home while Stephanie, who lives in Stratford, is with the Hawera branch of Child, Youth and Family as a social worker.

Ina did not tell anyone of her plans so the family was puzzled when she started receiving letters from the institute.

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"My younger sister said ‘why is mum getting all these letters?' We were very nosy," Stephanie said.

Ina said it was something she wanted to do "a long time ago" but had to consider her young children. But she soon realised the learning journey was no walk in the park.

"I thought it was going to be easy," Ina said. "I had a big surprise along the way."

It was about 40 years ago when Ina studied for her nursing degree and she said the way lessons were conducted have changed.

Ina found technology challenging as she is not "very computer literate" while Stephanie said the English language posed a problem from time to time.

"English is our second language so sometimes we struggle a little bit," Stephanie said. The Strydoms are originally from South Africa.

Stephanie also said she initially found it hard having her mum on the same course as her but soon accepted Ina as her classmate.

When Ina broke her ankle , Stephanie ferried her from her Frankleigh Park home and pushed her around campus in her wheelchair .

Witt's graduation ceremony is at the TSB Showplace at 5.30pm.

Taranaki Daily News