FORT WORTH (CBS11) – There is a reason Jody and Neil Waddell and two of their sons were dressed up in formal tuxedo vests, ties and long gown working on college homework at their dining room table in Fort Worth Monday.
“It started with a challenge from one of our kids,” Neil Waddell said.
After completing home schooling, the elder Waddell’s were pushing two of their sons to go to college.
“One of the other kids chimed up and said, ‘Well, you didn’t get your degrees’,” the father explained. “And because we tend to endeavor to lead by example we said, oh, we can fix that because we’re not going to ask you to do something we aren’t willing to do ourselves.
Neil and Jody decided to do something they didn’t do 20 years ago — finish their higher education.
They, along with sons Matthew and Benjamin, all enrolled at Tarrant County College.
It became a study in family teamwork.
“It was kind of an uncertainty going into it,” Benjamin said of going to college. “And then them joining us kind of added a sense of, ‘Okay. We’ll figure this out together’.”
“In order to make this work we’ve taken night classes,” said Jody who, like her husband, was balancing work and school. “We’ve taken weekend classes. We’ve taken online classes. We’ve taken afternoon classes. We’ve taken early morning classes. We’ve taken all of them.”
The family huddled over the study table at all hours, helping one another with the coursework and the housework.
“So, really, it works because we work as a team,” Jody said referencing her entire family which includes another, younger son and two younger daughters. “All us work as a team.”
It was sometimes awkward having the parents on campus.
“Like, when I ‘d be in class — social things,” Matthew said. “Hey, there’s a cute girl in class. Mom’s in class. Mom is being mom and she’s like, “Hey!” I’m like, we’re in class right now. She doesn’t exist right now.”
Monday, the Waddells were dressed up because the passed the family test of college — they’re graduating.
All four were walking the stage together and all four plan to continue their studies in a four year school as well.
“I would encourage anyone, look, if it’s ever a dream of yours go for it,” Neil said. “Because anything is possible.”
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