Student fulfills vow he made to mom at the age of 5, proving himself to be a man of his word

For Carolyn Patton, education has always been a priority, but as a single mother in Maryland, she struggled to complete her bachelor’s degree due to life’s interruptions. She had abandoned her college program twice to work and support her children.

Her son Immanuel Patton, who was just five years old at the time, noticed his mother’s struggle and made a promise to help her.

9-year-old boy approaches an unfamiliar police officer and discreetly hands over a note

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“One day, it’s gonna be you and me,” Immanuel told GMA. “We’re going to get our degrees at the same time.”

Recently, Carolyn and Immanuel fulfilled that promise and graduated from the University of Maryland together, receiving their bachelor’s degrees. It was not an easy journey, but they held on to their promise and supported each other along the way.

9-year-old boy approaches an unfamiliar police officer and discreetly hands over a note

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They both have two associate’s degrees, so they enrolled together in fall 2020 to take bachelor-level online courses through the University of Maryland Global Campus.

Despite the challenging courses, Immanuel encouraged his mother to keep going, saying, “Ma, you’ve got to keep it going. I know you want to stop. We got to keep going.”

9-year-old boy approaches an unfamiliar police officer and discreetly hands over a note

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It took them two years to complete their degrees, with Carolyn earning a degree in humanities and Immanuel in public safety administration. Carolyn plans to continue working as a coordinator with Anne Arundel Community College, while Immanuel has accepted a job at the University of Maryland Global Campus to help other students succeed in college.

Carolyn expressed how proud she is of Immanuel’s achievement, and she couldn’t have accomplished her lifelong goal without the support of her family, especially him. “Between my son and my daughter, they were my greatest supporters,” she said.

9-year-old boy approaches an unfamiliar police officer and discreetly hands over a note

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Their story is a testament to the power of family support and the determination to fulfill a promise. As Carolyn said, “Families helping families — that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?”