For many people, graduating college is an accomplishment to be celebrated.

What’s even more exciting? Graduating at the same time as a family member.

Meet a mother-son duo, defying the odds.

“I’m excited to finally move up in the world. Try new classes, new curriculum. It will be a really big step in life.”

Three years ago, Angus Ellingson started his college career with Dakota College at Bottineau and Minot State University.

It’s something he and his family never thought would be possible.

He has intellectual disabilities and was non-verbal until he was four.

Now, he’s graduating with an associate’s degree with honors.

“That’s what means so much to me is that he’s so articulate and he’s able to advocate for himself. He’s graduating with honors when he was, you know, looking at where he came from being kicked out of kindergarten, now graduating with honors is just a good comparison of how far he’s come,” said Mary Ellingson.

But it isn’t just Angus who will be crossing the stage.

“Might be a little strange but it’ll definitely be exciting,” Angus said.

His mom, Mary, is graduating from Minot State University’s master’s program with a degree in speech-language pathology.

“Communication has always been difficult for him and challenging. He’s worked with speech-language pathologists his whole life, he still works with one today. I’ve been inspired by that and seen the work that they do with families and how it’s helped us. I would like to turn around and help other families and children that struggle like Angus did,” Mary said.

They say they couldn’t have gotten this far alone.

“I was just glad to have the support. I mean if I wasn’t with my family and I didn’t push myself to do all of this–I wouldn’t be here today,” Angus said.

“Everybody deserves a chance and I think Minot gives that to them. I’m really grateful for that,” Mary said.

Now that he’s accomplished this goal, he’s looking to the future for his next one.

“I have a big love for sci-fi and space, and travel and fantasy especially when it comes to Star Wars,” he said.

Is there an ultimate goal? Would you, you know, want to go to space one day or anything?

“Well, I am hoping that one day space travel and other worlds is actually possible,” Angus said.

MSU’s graduation is Friday, May 14 at 10 a.m.