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Richard Kinard went back to college to show his children he practices what he preaches.
“I’m always telling my kids to get their degree, but I didn’t have mine,” he said. “Now I can say I do.”
Kinard, a retired U.S. Navy machinist, graduated from Spartanburg Community College Thursday evening.
After spending 20 years in the Navy, Kinard thought he might be too old to go back to school. He said he was nervous before walking into his first class, but once the work started piling up, those nerves went away.
“We were all in it together,” he said.
While at SCC, Kinard took a sign language class with one of his daughters, 19-year-old Damyra. She said the experience brought the two closer together.
“I thought it would be an exciting, good bonding time,” she said. “I feel like we definitely learned more about each other and bonded more.”
Kinard said relating to college students was never a problem. During his five years as a Navy recruiter in Spartanburg, he regularly spoke with high school students across the county.
Having three college students living together was a little tougher, however. Kinard and Damyra both studied at SCC, while his oldest daughter, who graduated Tuesday evening, attended the University of South Carolina Upstate.
“It was rough some days,” he said. “You always had different classes, stress levels, we were all just trying to get everything done.”
Kinard plans to transfer to either USC Upstate or Limestone College in Gaffney to continue his education.
“I practice what I preach, so after that, I can walk the walk,” he said.