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Mother and son graduate GSU together ahead of Mother’s Day

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Posted at 11:41 AM, May 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-14 11:41:11-04

ATLANTA, Ga. -- With Mother’s Day fast approaching, many people are preparing to celebrate with the special women in their lives, whether that is their mothers, spouses, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, daughters, aunts, nieces, children, grandchildren, etc.

No moment can describe the feeling that Indya Thomas experienced as she graduated from Georgia State University on the same weekend as her son, Kamau Gomes.

Thomas majored in marketing and minored in hospitality at Georgia State University. Thomas says they lived in a homeless shelter when Gomes was a baby and recalls experiencing extreme adversity.

“I had Kamau when I was 17 years old. We did not have a lot of people that supported me having him so young. I was told that I would never graduate from high school, let alone college,” Thomas said. “I was told I was going to ruin his life. So, it really gives me a lot of strength that we are here together.”

Gomes was a student at the DeKalb County Early College Academy & Dual Enrollment at Georgia State University. He graduated with his Associate Degree and wants to pursue Psychology and Exercise in Sports Science.

“I want to become a sports psychologist to help athletes and help people all around the world understand that mental health is important,” Gomes said.

Thomas left school and had her son Kamau at an early age. Thomas said Kamau was with her at her high school graduation. She returned to school in 2015. Now, they’re celebrating the accomplishment of graduating together, something they never originally believed was possible.

“I don’t think there are words to capture the amount of pride and just humility and love I have for this experience. Honestly, if there was a lifetime of living this one moment, that would be enough,” she said.

Gomes said he didn’t take any college classes with his mother because she was two years ahead, but they did receive a scholarship together. He was awarded the Gates scholarship with $1,000 towards tuition. “This was so spontaneous,” said Gomes. “This really was a coincidence, but I am appreciative of it. I am grateful for it.”

Thomas said her job provided her with an opportunity for tuition reimbursement.

“They only cover certain schools in the university system. So, it was either Georgia State or UGA. I had to make a choice and I wanted to do in-person classes, so Georgia State was a natural choice for me. It’s just fate,” she said. “I am a marketing major and hospitality minor. My path is going to be more service marketing. I know one thing is for certain I want to be a good role model for him.”

Graduating from college and sharing that moment with her son is a moment that Thomas only dreamed of.

“I finally get to celebrate Mother’s Day,” Thomas said. “This is going to be the best one ever. You kiss your baby and it’s just so great. But really this Mother’s Day hits completely differently than any other Mother’s Day. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for to prove others wrong, even proving myself wrong.”

Gomes said he is doing everything in his power to make Mother’s Day special and to make sure his mother doesn’t have to worry about finances in the future.

“My whole life is dedicated to her,” Gomes said. “My goal, in the end, is to make sure she is financially free. I’ll retire my mom to make sure she gets everything in the world. I know the 18 years and everything you had to go through. I really want to make sure you never have to pay a dime for me ever again. It’s going to happen. I love you, Mom.”