All in the family Two generations get OC diplomas on same day
When graduation rolls around each year, OC families come together to celebrate their students’ accomplishments.
Occasionally, more than one child will graduate together. Even more rare is what happened to the Brotherton family in 2010.
Sisters Amanda and Jenny were joined by their mother, Elesa, as all three graduated with honors on the same day.
The Brothertons’ OC story began in Alaska, where they lived until all three began their freshman year. Since Amanda and Jenny were ready to start college, the family began visiting Christian schools.
“Oklahoma Christian was a unanimous choice for us,” Jenny said. “When we started meeting people from OC, we just knew this was where we would fit in.”
Elesa’s husband, David, is a public school psychologist and a minister. He found a position in an Oklahoma City-area school, allowing the family to move across the street from the OC campus. That paved the way for Elesa to enroll as well.
“I had always planned to finish college, but once we had children and began homeschooling them, I just never did,” Elesa said. “When the girls started at OC, I had more free time. So, David and I decided this was the perfect time to finish in a Christian environment.”
All three students excelled while at OC.
Jenny graduated summa cum laude and was hired by Chapparal Energy as an accountant before she graduated. She was chosen as the top graduating student by the School of Business Administration’s faculty. After graduation, she started in OC’s MBA program.
“The professors at OC encouraged me to learn, excel and continually push myself,” Jenny said.
“It was like OC gave me the tools to build a starting point for my career. All I had to do was choose my material and start building.”
Elesa and Amanda were both pre-pharmacy majors who graduated magna cum laude.
Elesa is now taking pharmacy classes at the University of Oklahoma, while Amanda will enroll next year.
“Amanda and I knew OC was the right choice for a career in a science field,” Elesa said. “The college has such a high acceptance rate for medical programs that I knew we would be well prepared.”
Being in the same program allowed the two to spend more time together.
“We took many of the same classes, so we were able to do homework and study for exams together,” Amanda said. “We have always been close, but going to school together has added a new dimension to my relationships with my mom and sister. Plus, it was really fun for Jenny and me to do Spring Sing and serve as officers in the same club.”
Sending three students to college on one income required budgeting, but Elesa said they didn’t mind.
“We knew that attending OC would be more expensive than a public college, but it was definitely worth it,” she said. “We were surrounded by Christian faculty and staff, and the Bible was not something people were embarrassed by. OC teaches the sciences in an academically demanding way, but we also learn how science complements the Bible. I was very pleased with OC as a parent and a student.”
The Brothertons celebrated a fourth graduation last spring as well. Elesa and David’s youngest child, Matthew, graduated from high school.
True to recent family tradition, Matthew is a freshman at OC this fall. While he won’t have the chance to graduate together with his sisters and mother, he knows they will be there to cheer him on when graduation rolls around.
By Josh Watson