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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and one mother-daughter duo has extra reason to celebrate.

They reached a milestone together that at one point seemed unlikely, and they say another strong mother in their life was a huge part of the reason why.

Florida International University graduate Katherine Bolt is ready to take on the world.

Her mom is right there with her– literally!

Gigi Bolt walked across the stage to receive her Master’s degree just a few moments before Katherine received her Bachelor’s degree.

“What mother gets to walk across the stage with their kid when they receive a college degree? It was exciting,” Gigi told CBS 4 Anchor Lauren Pastrana.

“Normally you’re waving to your family. I was just sitting next to her,” Katherine added.

But the two have been going to school together for years now.

Gigi was just a junior in high school when she had Katherine.

“I continued on through high school,” Gigi said. “I missed two weeks of school. I graduated on time with my class.”

And when she went to college, Gigi brought Katherine to class with her.

“She would sit there with a book,” the proud mom explained. “She would read sitting behind me in class. My professors would say we didn’t even know she was there. She was so behaved.”

“I loved it,” Katherine recalled. “It was so cool. It actually inspired what I want to do. I want to work for the county.”

Gigi credits her entire family with helping her raise her daughter, and says her own mother was an integral part of her support system.

“She would have been so proud,” Gigi said. “She was always our biggest fan.”

Elsa Vascos Bolt raised four kids, worked hard, beat breast cancer and pushed her loved ones to excel.

“My mom was so loving, such a strong woman, that we learned to be independent and strong and have a good head on our shoulders because of her,” she said.

This will be Gigi’s second Mother’s Day without her mom. Elsa passed away in 2017. But Gigi says she’ll never forget the lessons she taught her.

She has passed down the lessons of strength and perseverance to her own daughter.

“As long as you work hard and do what you have to do, you can do anything in the world,” Gigi said.

“Everything she did was to show me that it was possible to attain your goals no matter what,” Katherine said, looking at her mom. “I’m so proud of you.”

Gigi says she’d love to get her PhD or go to law school and eventually become a professor.

She also plans to start a scholarship to help single parents pay for their college education.

Lauren Pastrana


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