NBC 5 is highlighting Something Good that so many college students have overcome throughout the pandemic – achieving the impossible in honor of those we love.
Ashley Cox of Forney shared with us her journey to get her music degree at A&M Commerce.
She juggled online classes at the onset of the pandemic, which was not an easy feat for a music major studying trombone. She also helped her own young children through virtual learning.
Then in fall 2020, she grieved the loss of her father – Brian Combs – after his long and difficult battle with COVID-19.
She lost more relatives to the disease and other circumstances in the months to follow. She said her loved ones were able to watch her start her degree but never got to see her finish.
Still, Ashley pressed on through the next two years. She continued to juggle mom duties, marching band, trombone performances and teaching.
This month, she celebrated her hard working by graduating from the university with highest honors.
But she had one last thing left on her list – recreating a special photo she took with her father 30 years ago.
It showed her Brian, dressed in a cap and gown, with Ashley and her grandmother by his side on his own graduation from the same school over 30 years ago. Back then, Texas A&M University Commerce was known as East Texas State University.
With the help of classmates, she was able to find the exact spot on campus where her father stood all those years ago. Ashley recreated the photo with her own children and grandmother, while her father stood with her in spirit.
Ashley said it was a full circle, bittersweet moment for her and her family.
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Now, she's getting ready to start a new job as a head band director in Kaufman ISD.
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