GREENSBORO, N.C. — Nearly 2,000 students walked across the stage Friday morning and graduated from The University of North Carolina Greensboro.
Two of the Spartans were more than just classmates, but husband and wife.
Eric and Rhonda Hodges finally won the battle after fighting for decades. The couple both started college after high school, but because of life, had to put their degrees on hold.
After their kids were grown, they decided it was time to fight on.
"We didn't know we were going to graduate together, we just started pursuing our degrees," Rhonda said.
Their story began when they were just babies. With both of their fathers in the Navy, they ended up living across the street from each other and grew up friends.
"His name appears in my baby book under my friends from age one," Rhonda said.
In 1995, they got married.
Fast forward to 2021, they both earned a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree. Eric even took on an extra load of classes to make sure they could walk together.
"It is possible. I stepped into this and I was nervous, I was scared, I hadn't been in school in forever. I didn't know if I could cut it," Eric said.
"I told him, I'm going to wait for you and grab your hand so we can walk off together. It's just magical," Rhonda said.
It's a fairytale ending to a long and hard fought journey.
"We were counting how many people in our family have degrees and we lost count. We wanted to be a part of that, and now we are. We are," Eric and Rhonda said.