A mother-daughter duo in South Carolina set out to earn their college diplomas from the University of South Carolina Upstate to further their nursing careers, and now they can say they did it.

Getting their diploma at the same commencement ceremony was something Tangenicka “Tange” Williams and her daughter Chyna Williams planned to accomplish together since their paths aligned to do so last year. On April 30, the pair made the idea a reality when they both celebrated obtaining their Bachelor of Science in Nursing from USCU together, according to Face2Face Africa.

In 1999, Tange’s daughter witnessed her receive her practical nurse license from Greenville Technical College. Following the graduation, her friends did something special that same night that’s remained with her until this day.

“This day here, let me know that it was only the beginning,” she told Face2Face Africa. “We all graduated during Christmas, so we made nurses’ hats for the Christmas tree. My friends took my nursing hat off and they placed it on Chyna’s head. She was 6 months old. But she knew already, ‘She’s going to be a nurse like her mom.'”

Although she didn’t nudge Chyna to become a nurse, that small gesture made 25 years ago is why the veteran nurse believes this moment was a long time coming. Everything came full circle during her daughter’s senior year when she overheard her mention to someone she wanted the same career path as her mom.

“Someone came up to her and said, ‘Chyna, what are you going to school for?'” her mother recalled while speaking to USCU. “And she said, ‘I’m going to school to be a nurse like my mom.’ And I was blown away, because once she told me she didn’t want to do it, I didn’t press it. But when she actually said that’s what she wanted to do, I said, ‘Now she’s ready.'”

Tange grew up in an environment where she wasn’t afforded most things others had. Despite not having much, experiencing seizures herself, seeing her godsisters who were nurses and always being willing to help people in her community fueled her interest in the medical field. After completing the necessary courses at Greenville Technical College, she decided to go back to get an associate’s degree and became a registered nurse in 2008.

Throughout the years, Chyna’s mom garnered a reputation for being a nice, helpful person, which inspired her interest in nursing.

“I just wanted to be the same way, because I would always run into people saying, ‘Your mom is such a blessing, your mom is such a blessing.’ I’m like, I know. She raised me, and she is my backbone,'” she shared with USCU.

Tange debated if she wanted to further her education in a BSN program to get her bachelor’s degree around the time her daughter finished her course at her alma mater in 2023. Due to the timing, the two wanted to whether the next chapter of their education journey together. Since Chyna was transferring to USCU, they both attended and began the program in 2023.

Both women work in the geriatric area of nursing at NHC Healthcare in their hometown, so they had full-time jobs while working on their degrees. According to Tange, the duo is adored by employees who remember Chyna as a young child, along with patients and visitors when it’s discovered they’re related.

“Everyone loves to see us working together, because she grew up in the facility as a baby. Now she’s the nurse in the facility,” Tange said to USCU.

She added, “This is a family of two, and this is a family of completion. Whatever we start, we definitely will finish. If we have no one else, we got each other. We started this. We’re going to end this together, hand in hand as they say both of our names, and we’re going to walk down that aisle. And we did it.”