May 31, 2009

Three sisters in 40s graduate together

North Carolinian Valerie Noel says graduating from the University of Phoenix with her two younger sisters was the culmination of a collaborative dream.

Noel said she and her sisters obtained human services/management bachelor's degrees at the Raleigh, N.C., campus of the for-profit educational institution thanks to their ability to lean on one another in their individual times of need, The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported Sunday.

When you didn't think you could go on, we could call on each other, she said. We could help each other.

Noel said she and her sisters Jeanette and Delores, all in their 40s, initially learned about the university, which also offers courses online, from their friend, Hazel Henry.

While the sisters celebrated with Henry and one another after Saturday's graduation ceremony, Noel admitted the true motivating force for the siblings was missing.

He was an inspiration, she told the News & Observer of the sisters' father Arthur, who died of cancer in 2007.