San Jacinto College students Eva Lux and Kayli Perry are a mother and daughter who have shared a seven-year journey through college, cheering each other on every step of the way.
“I’m so proud of my mom. We have been each other’s support throughout college,” said Perry. “At times we have each wanted to quit, but we would pull each other back up and keep going. It means even more to know that we are doing this together.”
Each with her own motivation, Lux and Perry enrolled at San Jac in 2015.
“It’s been an emotional journey for me,” said Lux. “After my first marriage ended, I had the freedom to do something for myself. I got married very young and never graduated from high school, so this was important to me.”
Equally important for Perry was proving wrong those who underestimated her.
“I wanted to make my name mean something,” Perry said. “It’s why I have stuck in for so long and didn’t give up, even though I wanted to.”
The pair grew even closer, supporting each other whenever one of them felt like throwing in the towel.
“I would come to my mom and say, ‘I’m done,’ and she would be right there telling me, ‘You’ve got this,’” Perry said. “The next semester, she would come to me and say, ‘I’m quitting,’ and I would encourage her.”
Perry experienced much self-doubt and struggled with balance, working many jobs while attending San Jac. Her mom’s encouragement helped her stick with it.
“We have pulled and pushed each other through the last seven years,” said Lux. “We both had to take breaks at times because of the curveballs life throws at you, and fear played a part too. Algebra terrified me to the point that it became a bad word in our household.”
Lux struggled with algebra over two semesters and decided to pursue another dream to boost her self-esteem. She became a competitive bodybuilder, with her final competition in June 2021.
“Some key people in my life told me fear does not come from God and I could do anything I put my mind to,” Lux said. “I have lived by those words and passed them on to others for the last few years. After walking that competition stage twice, it gave me the confidence to try again.”
Through Perry’s recommendation, Lux enrolled in a summer semester college algebra course with professor Gregory Steele and passed.
“I learned that the instructor you choose can be vital to your understanding of the course,” Lux said. “Having those key professors got both of us through some tough times.”
One instructor who inspired both Lux and Perry is psychology professor Clare Zaborowski. Based on their experiences with Zaborowski, the mother-daughter duo both chose social and behavioral science as their major.
“Professor Zaborowski had such an impact that I went back and took as many classes from her as I could,” said Perry. “It got to the point where the courses were considered extra credit since they weren’t in my core curriculum.”
Lux and Perry graduated May 19, each with an associate degree in social and behavioral science. As for the future, neither are sure whether they will pursue any further degrees.
“I’m not going to say I’m done because anything could happen,” Lux said. “But for right now, it’s enough for both of us to say we did it. It’s a very proud moment for us.”