Mother-daughter graduate from R-CCC

Published 4:20 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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AHOSKIE – Roanoke-Chowan Community College (R-CCC) graduated the class of 2024 on May 3, to include a mother-daughter duo.

Toneisha Rankins (left) and her mom, Althea Howard (right), pose with Roanoke-Chowan Community College President Dr. Murray Williams at the college’s 2024 graduation ceremony held May 3. Contributed Photo

Althea Howard and her daughter Toneisha Rankins both earned degrees in Early Childhood Education B-K.

Howard chose to attend R-CCC after working with students at Askewville Preschool

“I want to work with children in the class to make a difference in their lives,” Howard remarked.

Rankins wanted to complete her associate’s degree in early childhood education so she could work and help young children with their education.

“R-CCC is closer to my home, my job, and met all requirements to help me build my career,” she explained.

Both said they appreciated the convenience and flexibility of online courses and the assistance they received from instructors, advisors and staff.

“Most of all, I liked completing all my courses with my mother and graduating with her,” Rankins added.

The duo offered encouragement to others who may be considering college.

“I wanted to go to school when I was younger, but I had my children at an early age,” Howard recalled. “My first priority was taking care of my kids. I would encourage everyone to follow their dreams. It’s never too late.”

Rankins encouraged prospective students to be strong and move forward.

“Trust me. You will not be disappointed. The R-CCC staff will help you in every way they possibly can,” she said.

When asked if they had planned to graduate together, Rankins explained that one day they started talking about owning a daycare. They decided to go back to school to get a degree to become teachers and daycare owners. They registered for courses the next week and began the journey together.

While there were a few classes they took separately, Rankins said, “Graduating with my mother was the perfect gift that I could have ever received. I never thought that could happen but when it did, that brought so much joy to my heart. I give all praises to God because without Him, I wouldn’t have made it. I just felt so good all over because it was a dream come true.”

She said that sitting beside and walking with her mom during commencement was “amazing.”

Howard added, “I was super excited for myself and as a parent, I was just as excited to see my child accomplish her dreams. I really can’t explain it… I can’t stop smiling.”

Appreciative of the support they received from family and sharing the moment with fellow classmates, the two are now embarking on a new journey – attending East Carolina University together and pursuing psychology degrees. The two plan to open a daycare business.

They offered special thanks to R-CCC faculty, staff, Early Childhood Program Coordinator Deshon Whitaker and Curriculum Registrar Amy Wiggins for their assistance.

“Thank you to all instructors and staff who played a big part in our success,” said Rankins.

During the College’s 55th commencement ceremony, 127 graduates were awarded 172 credentials, including 28 Associate in Science, one Associate in General Education, 28 Associate in Applied Science, 31 Associate in Arts, 68 certificates, and 16 diplomas. There were three High School Equivalency graduates.

For more information on the R-CCC Early Childhood Education program, visit or call 252-862-1200.