Mom and daughter graduate together

Each of Lone Star College–CyFair’s 500+ graduates this year has a story of accomplishment, but the story of Kristy Mooney and her mother Frances Thomas is one of teamwork and desire.

As a student at Fairbanks, Mooney inspired her mother to try a continuing education acting class with her, which sparked an interest that led to both of them graduating together May 12 with associate’s of arts degrees.

“Watching your child walk across the stage makes you proud,” said Thomas. “But walking across with my daughter was special, because regardless of our age difference, we supported each other and accomplished this goal together.”

Thomas took her classes during the day while Mooney, who works in the college’s IT department, took evening classes.

Mooney admits it was a little weird going to school with her mother, though.

“I was teaching mom versus her teaching me. She has more real life experiences to draw from and I have more high-tech skills,” said Mooney.

Another difference is that Thomas also has a disability. She is legally blind.

“I came back to school with a disability to start so that was a challenge in itself,” she said. “I had to study harder and find methods that worked for me like audio - textbooks on cd, my children reading to me - large print textbooks and then studying with my daughter.”

Thomas said she learned a lot not only from her daughter but her three other children as well.

“When they were young, I helped them with their homework, now they share with me what they learn,” she said.

Mooney said her mother fostered the desire for learning and knowledge in all her children and “I appreciate her all the more now.”

Mooney’s older brother has an MBA, her younger sister is working on a bachelor’s and her younger brother is still in high school. Mooney, who just earned an associate’s of arts, plans to continue at Lone Star College–CyFair in pursuit of an associate’s of science, then transfer to Texas Southern University or University of Houston - Cinco Ranch for degree in public affairs or political science and then on to law school.

With a passion for counseling and advising, Thomas’s goal is a career in psychology or social work.

“I have a lot to offer,” Thomas said. “I want to work in an area that I will have more of an impact especially on those like myself who have a disability.”

So taking one step at a time, Thomas is now on her way to a career helping others. With an associate’s of arts from Lone Star College–CyFair, she plans to take some summer courses and then transfer to the University of Houston or perhaps Prairie View A&M University to pursue a bachelor’s.

For information on academic degrees, workforce certificates and service at Lone Star College–CyFair, go to cyfair.lonestar.edu.