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Husband and wife married for 26 years, finish college together

The couple raised their kids first and the pandemic gave them time to go back to school.

CONCORD, N.C. — A Concord couple used the pandemic as a reason to do something they’d tried for years. And they did it together.

Rhonda and Eric Hodges are in their 50’s and had delayed finishing college to raise their kids. Ten days ago, they graduated – together. And now they’re charting a new future.

The couple literally spent their adult lives putting everyone else first until suddenly COVID-19 hit and they had some unexpected time on their hands and the result – potentially new careers for both of them.

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"We can sit there and look at each other and say we did this. It’s a major accomplishment," Eric Hodges said.

Eric Hodges is 50. His wife Rhonda 51 and the two have been married for 26 years and raised three kids. The couple decided to use extra time during the pandemic to finally finish the college degrees they’d put on hold for their family and just got their diplomas from UNC Greensboro.

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"We both had a long road to get here – we were in and out of school over the years as time permitted but never had this kind of time to put forth the effort needed to graduate," Rhonda Hodges said. 

"It was liberating to me to finally say ok it's my time, it's our time. We put blood sweat and tears into our children we made sure they were well-rounded and finally came around for us and it felt good to accomplish something for yourself," Eric Hodges added. 

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Both admit it wasn’t always easy but having each other helped.

"We held each other accountable," Eric explained. 

"It was a challenge," Rhonda said. "All of our friends and family were behind us but it wasn’t always easy."

Eric is a school bus driver, Rhonda works in finance helping people with retirement planning but both now have bigger dreams. Eric wants to be a social worker- Rhonda wants to be a museum curator.

"There are many doors that open, I think it really does give us a competitive edge," Rhonda said.

Contact Michelle at mboudin@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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