Graduating grandma grabs degree from Montclair State

More than 3,000 students got ready to make the jump into the real world with their graduation from Montclair State University Friday, but at least one graduate has been balancing her education with some major adult responsibilities for some time.

Cliffside Park resident Terri Ellili received her bachelor's degree in sociology at the commencement ceremony. While earning a degree may be a normal rite of passage for some, Ellili is a grandmother who spent 23 years earning her degree and raising her family as a single mother of two. "I was raising these two children as a single parent and I had three jobs," she says. "I did three credits a semester, and I made it."

Her children attended the ceremony with her twin grandsons. The twins wore shirts adorned with the phrase "Go Grandma."

Ellili hopes her accomplishment after more than two decades of hard work can inspire others to go back to school.

"I hope I set an example [for people] my age or who are out of school 10 years and say it's too late," she says. "It's never too late. It is absolutely never too late to do this."

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