Mother, daughter finish associate degrees together

For some women, going to the same college as your mom - or your kid - could be a recipe for disaster, but not for Alicia and Robin Flowers.

For the mother-daughter duo, attending classes at College of the Redwoods' Del Norte Education Center at the same time made transportation easier. It also gave them a chance to spend more time together.

"We're known for picking on each other, but we don't really fight a lot," Robin said. "We're not one of those mother-daughter groups that can't stand to be around each other. It would have been bad if we didn't get along well."

Alicia and Robin graduated on Friday. They will both receive associate degrees in general business.

According to Becky Blatnick, a counselor at CR, with 65 students receiving certificates and degrees, the class of 2014 is one of the largest at the Del Norte campus. One student received her associate degree a few weeks before she will receive her high school diploma, Blatnick said.

"That's a big deal given the fact that enrollment is shrinking," she said. "We're still producing graduates and people with job skills."

Robin said she's thinking about transferring to Humboldt State University to pursue a degree in mathematics.

Alicia said she's still deciding which college to go to, either the University of Nevada, Reno or California State University, Chico. She plans to pursue an accounting degree. Both say they have more classes to take in the summer and fall before they can transfer.

Robin said she began taking classes at College of the Redwoods a semester behind her daughter in 2012. She said she had neck surgery in 2010, which kept her from working, and going to school was a way to "get me doing something."

But even though they hung out together, each had their own interests. Alicia said she became involved in the student senate shortly after enrolling in CR. She is currently secretary of the student senate, representing students throughout CR's district.

Alicia said she also enjoyed her art class, something that proved more challenging for her mom.

"I just loved drawing and painting," she said. "I've always been really artistic."

Being able to hang out with her mom isalso one of Alicia's fondest memories of CR.

"She'd sometimes have two jobs or three jobs and then I moved out of town, so we never really got to spend a lot of time together," Alicia said. "It was always hard. And now we get a lot of time that we could spend together."

The Del Norte Education Center's graduation was held at the Crescent City Cultural Center this year. The ceremony featured keynote speaker CR alumnus Deanna Russell, who is a supervising nurse at Sutter Coast Hospital, Blatnick said.

"Deanna really drove that home - if I can do it, you can do it," Blatnick said. "There's just a lot of pride in being able to give back to your community."

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