DEGREE DUO MOTHER, DAUGHTER GRADUATE TOGETHER.
VALENCIA - While they never had a class together en route to their College of the Canyons degrees, mother and daughter June and Nichole Dufour admit to a few homework-fueled battles over the family computer.
Aspiring schoolteacher Nichole, 20, will likely need one of her own computers when she moves into an apartment and begins studying at California State University, Northridge, this fall.
Far from feeling awkward, Nichole said she liked seeing her mom on campus or waving to each other from a classroom window.
``I thought it was cool. All my friends knew her, too. They'd see her and wave. It was fun,'' she said.
In a show of solidarity, the 1999 Valencia High graduate skipped graduation ceremonies Friday because her mom, in a wheelchair recovering from foot surgery, wasn't able to walk on stage.
Studying English and social science at the college since 1994, June Dufour said she was happy to counsel her daughter about which teachers to avoid when Nichole started two years ago.
``We actually took some of the same classes, just not at the same time,'' said June Dufour, who with her husband runs a building insurance business. ``I took my classes at night.''
The Dufour women earned degrees Friday along with more than 600 College of the Canyons students, each contributing to the average graduate age of 27.1 years.
Husband and father Tom Dufour said he wanted his ladies to walk on stage, but was just happy to congratulate his scholars.
``I'm just so proud of them both. It's quite a coincidence that they graduated at the same time,'' he said. ``But, yes, they were always fighting over the computer.''
With an eye on healing her foot, June Dufour said she will take a semester or two off before heading back to school to become either an English or physical education teacher.
Both women credited their simultaneous attendance with keeping them motivated and challenged, but Nichole Dufour made sure to spotlight her mom's academic achievements.
``She got A's in everything. She earned a gold honors braid.''
(color) Honors student June Dufour of Valencia and her daughter, Nichole, are 2001 graduates of College of the Canyons, and both plan to become teachers.
Tom Mendoza/Staff Photographer