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'They'll be looking down on us' | Father, daughter to graduate NC A&T on Mother's Day after overcoming double loss

"Everybody gets thrown a curveball, it's how you handle it," said Brandi Price, whose mother and grandmother both died while she was in college.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Ed and Brandi Price, a Greensboro father and daughter, will celebrate graduation from North Carolina A&T on Mother's Day 2021, persevering through profound loss to honor two mothers in their lives who wished for them to earn their degrees.

"The two of them will have the best seat in the house, looking down on us," said Ed, who lost his mother and wife in the last few years.

Ed Price's journey to earning his degree started back in 1979, when he first enrolled in North Carolina A&T State University after graduation from high school.

"I went for 2 years, decided school wasn't for me, dropped out, and started a career at UPS and have been there ever since," said Ed. "Two years ago, I decided to go back and finish what I started. Two years later, here I am about to finish May 9."

Ed said his mother, who was a college graduate, always wished for her son to complete his degree. His mother, who is Brandi's grandmother, died three months ago from complications related to Alzheimer's disease at the age of 96. Ed carried her motivation with him all these years, and passed it on to his daughter, Brandi, who had to overcome the death of her mother from breast cancer in 2015. 

"She passed away the semester I started A&T. At first I was good. Two years in, I started messing up. I was like, 'I don't think I'm gonna be able to do this.' I'd come home crying," Brandi said. 

But with her dad's encouragement and her mother's desire for her to graduate, Brandi overcame obstacles to complete her degree in business management and a concentration in entrepreneurship. But her graduation in July 2020 was bittersweet, as the coronavirus pandemic meant her December graduation ceremony would be canceled.

Five months later, Brandi and Ed will celebrate graduation together.

"I can hear my mom say, 'Go Brandi!'," she said. "Everybody gets thrown a curveball, it's how you handle it."

Ed says he hopes earning his degree will teach his daughters and the community.

"Always finish what you started, you're never too old!" said Ed.