The Remarkable Story Behind This Couple's Graduation Selfie Taking Twitter By Storm

Their son couldn't be prouder.

As another semester of college wrapped up earlier this month, two students at Sacramento Theological Seminary had a particularly poignant reason to celebrate. After years of battling a crack cocaine addiction together, Charles Jr. and Renaté Cole graduated with degrees in Biblical Studies — much to the delight of their 33-year-old son, Charles Cole, III. 

Cole, their son, posted a photo of his parents beaming in their graduation gowns and caps on Dec. 3, with the caption, "My parents went back to college together and they graduated today," he wrote. "Together."


The tweet raced across social media, and many commended Cole's parents. But the story was made even more remarkable considering how far along the Coles have come in the decades since their son's birth.

Cole told A Plus that when he was a child, he remembers his parents being in and out of jail, then shuttling to and from the streets to homeless shelters. Mostly raised by his grandmother, Cole eventually attended California State University, East Bay, graduating with a degree in political science, according to Huffington Post. Today, he is working towards a Doctorate in Education while doing social work and community engagement on the side. 

Noting that he was "extremely happy" for his parents, Cole added that their journey is a cautionary tale. "In the '80s and early '90s, our country enacted a lot of policies that exacerbated drugs abuse and violence in poor communities," he told A Plus. "My parents definitely didn't help their circumstances and when you combine horrible social realities and couple them with horrible choices, you get the life I grew up with."

Cole said that his parents have been enjoying the positive, supportive comments from other Twitter users. Their story, he added, shows that you can finish strong, "even if you start slow." He said: "I am proud of them for being an example of what is possible."

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