GRAMBLING, La, (KNOE) - Denise Mack walked across the stage again for the first time in 23 years, but this time, it was with her son, Virgil.
"I don't want to walk with you,” Denise said. “I wanted him to have his time. I wanted him to shine because I've already been through this."
On Friday, this mother-son duo both got their degrees from Grambling State University.
Denise received a Masters in Criminal Justice and Virgil got his bachelors in visual and performing arts.
"I was happy for this day to come for him to graduate," said Denise.
But this mother's day gift, really, wasn't supposed to happen. Virgil was actually supposed to graduate before his mom. But he changed his major pushing him back two years, allowing them to take the stage together.
"After it had happened, going through the process and everything, I kind of started getting excited about it. Okay yeah, this is kind of good thing coming out together and graduating with my son," said Denise.
"I was more happy for her than I really was for myself," said Virgil.
And they say it couldn't have happened at a better time.
"It's the perfect Mother's Day gift for my mom, to receive my degree because I did it on my own with her help her prayers," said Virgil.
Prayers, long nights, and a lot of support
"He kind of encouraged me to go back,” said Denise. “I always wanted to get my masters, but it didn't seem like the time was convenient. Like I said working two jobs trying to take care of home and take care of my family."
But now that she's graduated, Denise says her story can show other moms it's never too late to go back.
"I don't care how old you are you know you just have to start somewhere," said Denise.
And where she ended up, made it a mother's day to remember.
For their next journey, Denise says she plans to open her own mental health agency.
Virgil says he plans to travel to Las Vegas to put his degree to use.