A-State student graduates with grandpa - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

A-State student graduates with grandpa

(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -

Arkansas State University had its spring 2016 graduation ceremony Saturday and walking across that stage meant more than just receiving a diploma for some students.

Kalee James joined her classmates in receiving a diploma. 

Graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Education is something James never saw happening when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as a freshman.

Something else she never saw happening...graduating with her grandfather.

“It’s very interesting to be able to walk with my grandpa,” James said. “I'm very excited for him and I'm very proud of him.”

Jose Ruben Rodriguez has always been there for his granddaughter, especially when she had to undergo six months of chemo and radiation treatments.

“He was right beside me," James said. "Him, my grandma and my mom are my supporters. They were right there doing everything I needed help doing.”

Even though they are happy to be able to walk together, graduating was something that Rodriquez almost gave up on.

“About 5 years ago I had open heart surgery and almost gave up on it,” Rodriguez said. “A door closed and God opened another one.”

At the age of 64, Rodriguez is graduating with a Bachelors of Arts alongside James, who has now been in remission for nearly four years.

“Really can't put it into words, especially by looking at the past,” said Rodriguez. “Sometimes you give up on your dreams and this came true for us. To be able to graduate with my granddaughter is exciting.”

Now, the pair can not only celebrate a diploma, but can share a memory that will last a lifetime.

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