There might not be anything unique with a brother and sister graduating from college on the same day, but for Kelly Simms, 44, and Melinda Kinnaird, 41, both of Duncan, graduating from college is an important step.

Simms and Kinnaird both graduated from Cameron University Saturday after returning to complete their bachelor’s degrees.

The siblings graduated from Duncan High school, Simms in 1983 and Kinnaird in 1979.

Kinnaird started college in 1992, attending off and on until she became a full-time student in 2001. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

She did not finish her degree at first because she got married, and she and her husband, Ron, started a family.

“After I had my children, I realized how important getting my degree was,” she said.

She said she was lucky to be a housewife because she was able to attend classes without worrying about classes competing with work.

She started going back to college with one night class. Eventually, she started going full time.

Simms started college in 1999 and majored in computer information systems.

He said he had a couple of reasons to start college.

“I didn’t like my job at the time,” he said. “My wife was also involved in college, and she was a big influence.”

Kinnaird said her brother starting college was a big reason she returned.

“He really inspired me,” she said. “We had a couple of classes together.”

Simms and Kinnaird said attending college was important, not only because of getting their desired jobs but also to show their children the importance of getting a college degree and continuing their education.

Kinnaird said she has talked to her children, Kenzy and Kale, about attending college. Her children attend Comanche Elementary School.

“I wanted my children to see how important going to college and getting a good education is.

“They do know how important it is. At their ages, I don’t think they would understand that if I hadn’t been going through this. I think they’ll work harder through school.

“For their generation, a college degree is almost a must.”

Simms said getting his degree was important so he could inspire his children, Kelly and Cliston. Kelly attends Duncan Middle School and Cliston is a sophomore in high school.

Kinnaird said getting her college degree was important because she needed to set more goals in her life to start going in the right direction.

“It seems like I kept going down the wrong path,” she said. “And going to college was a goal I wanted to reach in life. It feels like I’m on the right path now.”

Along with homework, Kinnaird and Simms had obstacles to overcome.

Kinnaird said her biggest obstacle was financial. “My husband was the only one working,” she said. “We had to budget ourselves. We weren’t able to have a new car during that time or go on a big vacation. But it was worth it.”

Simms said his main challenges were work and finances. “I’m a lot broker,” he said.

Simms said he was proud of his accomplishment but was prouder of Kinnaird.

“I think I’m more excited for her than me,” he said. “She worked her tail off. I’m real proud of Melinda.”

They plan to use their degrees to get jobs in their desired professions.

Kinnaird said she wants to get a teaching job as soon as possible.

“I love being around kids,” she said. “And my goal is to be a teacher.”

Simms said getting a degree at any age is important but getting done with college at a younger age reduces the chance of working at something unfulfilling.

“Get it done early or you’ll be working in a job you don’t enjoy,” he said. “I spent 30 years of doing jobs I didn’t enjoy. Get it done early, and you’ll be working at a job you enjoy.”

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