Karen Tiemann and her daughter Jean Kovar took their classes at University of Texas Permian Basin online, but they will be walking the stage in real life at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Midland County Horseshoe Arena and Pavilion.
Tiemann and Kovar will be two of 600 graduates. New graduates from coast to coast and overseas, including from Denmark and the Ivory Coast, will receive their baccalaureate and master’s degrees, a news release stated.
Tiemann and Kovar live in Monahans. Tiemann will earn a psychology degree and Kovar will earn hers in family and child studies with a minor in business management.
Tiemann said she was supposed to graduate first, but Kovar doubled up on her classes so they could commence together.
Tiemann has five children and 14 grandchildren in total. She started college at Texas A&I- Kingsville, now Texas A&M-Kingsville in 1989 and had to quit in 1992. She was studying psychology at the time.
Twenty-something years later, she went back to Odessa College and earned her associate degree in psychology in spring 2017 and transferred to UTPB in the fall of 2017.
“It was just a life goal and I tell everybody that even if I never use my degree, it’s something that I wanted to do for myself. I started this a long time ago and I was determined to finish,” said Tiemann, who is a special education paraprofessional at Kermit Independent School District.
She spent the whole year doing homework with her students watching.
“And I talk about school. They ask me questions. … I talk to them about it and encourage everybody. It’s not too late. You can go at any age and you have a choice of doing it off campus. You can do it online like I’ve done. I spread it around,” Tiemann said.
She said she walked the stage for Odessa College and she’s doing it for UTPB.
“I worked hard for this,” Tiemann said.
“I am excited. I’m ready and debating whether or not to go on and do my master’s, but I’m going to take a little break,” she added. “I’m not a youngster anymore.”
Kovar works as a bookkeeper at Monahans Nipple-Up Services and has three children.
“It’s a little funny to me,” Kovar said of graduating with her mother, “but I think it’s going to be awesome that we get to experience it together. My sister’s pretty excited because then she only has to go to one graduation. … Overall, I think it’s something super-special, especially because it’s very close to Mother’s Day. I’m just really proud of her that she went back to school and she’s going to finish with me.”
Like her mom, Kovar said it will be a relief to graduate as she’s been working so hard for her degree. She added that not a lot of people get to graduate with their mothers.
“… I’m just really excited and very grateful that I get to do this,” Kovar said.
Kovar said she graduated from Giddings High School in 2013 and went to work to save money for college.
She said she’ll probably stay at Monahans Nipple-Up Services after she graduates.
“I really like it. … I love the people and the environment, but maybe down the line I’ll probably use my degree hopefully to work with kids either being a service coordinator for therapies for kids with disabilities,” or in child advocacy, Kovar said.
She has a son with tuberous sclerosis complex which causes tumors, usually benign, to grow anywhere in the body. Her son has them in his heart.