7 members of same Southern California family graduate in the same year

For most families, a single high school or college graduation is a big deal worth celebrating.

In one Southern California family, seven women each have something to be proud of - even if it took a moment for them to realize it.

"My sister is graduating, my niece is graduating, my daughters are graduating, my cousins are graduating.. It's like wow," said Nydia Lomeli, who received her high school diploma.

Between all of them, they earned four high school diplomas, two master's degrees and a doctorate.

Ironically amid the pandemic, Jessica Ramadhin earned her doctorate in infectious diseases from the University of Georgia.

"Fortunately, I was able to come back in time to go to all of their graduation ceremonies so that was really nice," she said.

94-year-old woman graduates from high school after dropping out during WWII
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She dropped out of school in 1942 when she was 16, so her husband could go fight in World War II.

Now, they're all able to reflect on what they've accomplished - not only as a family, but as Latinas who have fought from the bottom up.

"Not very many reach the level of a master's and PhD, so just being able to climb that ladder... it is a sense of pride," said Denise Burciaga, who received her master's degree in special education from CSUN.

Although she had her reservations about going back to school, Emma Garcia got her high school diploma alongside her daughter, who's now off to UC Riverside as a biochemistry major.

"It was pretty easy for me, to say the least, because I had a good support system at my house and I hope she had a good support system from me," her daughter Italee Garcia said.

There's no question they're all grateful for what they have.

"That encouragement and knowing we weren't the only ones going through it, especially during a pandemic," Burciaga added.
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