MONTGOMERY, AL - When Carolyn Bern served as room parent of her son's kindergarten class at Montgomery's Saint James School, she never thought one day she would become classmates with Liz Camp Barton, the sweet little girl whose mother always dressed her in matching frilly hair bows and socks.
The two women graduate together today from Auburn University at Montgomery with master's degrees in public administration.
Bern, who earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Vanderbilt University in 1980, first started graduate school when her children were toddlers. A working mother, she found it difficult to balance family, school and work and decided to take a break from college so she would have more time to be active in her children's lives.
"I promised myself I would go back when my kid's went to college and I have never regretted it," she said.
Barton graduated from Saint James with Bern's son, Aaron, in 2003 and always admired Bern, one of the first working mothers she ever knew.
"I look back at all the room mothers and most of them were at-home moms," said Barton. "She is one of the only working moms who was involved back then and I can understand that. It is hard for people to get away from work and balance work and family."
In addition to Barton and Bern, approximately 230 students will be receiving degrees today at AUM's summer commencement.