Good News Matters: Arkansas parents graduating college with daughter with help of PACE program

Good News Matters

CONWAY, Ark. – It’s graduation weekend for college students across Arkansas. It will be a very special day for one Arkansas family, as a father, mother and daughter will all graduate college together on the same day.

For Phillip, Maerica and Laura Kate Ashworth, the graduation march means so much this year as the father, mother and daughter duo will all walk across the stage together

“Phillip and I are 55 and 56, and we are graduating college a lot of years after graduating high school,” Maerica said.

It’s not something the family had planned.

“She set the example. We said if she can do it we can do it,” Phillip said of his daughter’s collegiate efforts.

After seeing the impact Central Baptist College in Conway had on their daughter, they decided to finish their degrees they had started long ago.  

“We both got to start college, but things happened in life and we didn’t get to continue,” Phillip explained.

Phillip and Marieca enrolled in the PACE program, which gives everyone the chance to get a degree no matter where they are in life.

“It’s a great secret people need to know about. It’s a great option to finish your degree and to get a better job and better yourself,” Maerica said.

For their daughter Laura Kate, it’s an experience she has loved.

“It’s really encouraging to see them and they’ve pushed me through. They’ve even helped me with classes and I’ve helped them,” she said.

It’s a memory the family will always cherish.

“I never thought I would graduate with my parents, but now that’s it happening, it’s pretty cool,” Laura Kate said. “Seeing their hard work made an impact on me – it’s something we will always remember.”

Phillip is on staff at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock and is graduating with his degree in Church Administration. Marieca works at CBC and is graduating with a degree in Psycology.

Their daughter Laura Kate is graduating with a degree in General Studies and will work full time at James Eye Care in Little Rock.

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