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Double Whammy Celebration for These Hope Graduates

These Liverpool Hope University students celebrated a very special occasion - graduating together on the same day as their fifth wedding anniversary.  

Five years ago Tim and Jody Hughes walked down the aisle on their wedding day in front of their family and friends.
 
tim and jody hughes on wedding day
 
Now, they have celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in a truly unforgettable way - by graduating from Hope together after years of hard work and dedication.
 
Jody, aged 35, and 43-year-old Tim live in Darwen, Lancashire with their three children and have been together for 15 years, having met while working at a holiday park. However in recent years they both decided to shake up their working lives and head back into education to retrain for new careers.

Jody enrolled on a degree in Education and Special Educational Needs at Hope in 2017 with the goal of becoming a teacher and, in turn, inspired Tim to go after his dream job too. He followed suit the following year and started a degree in Education and Early Childhood at Hope. 
 
Tim explained: "Jody had been working as a teaching assistant for five years, and she was really good at it. People always used to say to her 'you need to be a teacher,' but I don't think she really believed in herself.
 
"I was working as a security manager when, in 2018, my wife was a year into her course and suggested university as something I could look into.
 
"Initially, I thought studying for a degree was something that was for other people but I went for a couple of meetings at Hope and it seemed like a really nice fit."

The couple had to juggle their degrees with work and a busy family life looking after their children Ruby, 14, Jude, 10, and nine-year-old Darcy.

Jody said: "I kept my job as a teaching assistant and I did the degree in the evenings. Tim has always worked, even through his degree."
 
jody hughes

Like many students, Tim and Jody had to adapt to the shift to online learning brought on by the pandemic, which was coupled with other challenges such as having the whole family at home together during lockdown.

Jody added: "I adapted and got used to that style of learning but initially I found it tough. It was hard to focus when you have the children to look after as well - there was a time when we were homeschooling as well as doing our degrees."

Tim explained how the children motivated him and Jody to push through the challenges, and said: "There were times when I thought 'this might not be for me, I'm not good enough,' but I persevered.
 
tim hughes

"We wanted to show the kids that you don't quit. It might be a bit tough, but if you keep going you can get through it. I think they're proud of us."

Jody completed her degree in 2020, but her graduation ceremony was pushed back a year due to restrictions to tackle the spread of Covid-19. By the time Tim finished his course this year, he was invited to graduate on the couple's wedding anniversary as in-person ceremonies finally made a return.

Having juggled studying together alongside raising their children the couple asked Hope if they could finish their studies in style by graduating together on their special day. The University happily obliged.

Jody said: "When we saw the date Tim had been invited to graduate on, we just thought it would be so nice if we could do it together and that it would be a good way to celebrate five years of marriage. It was so special to graduate together."

Jody is now working in her dream job as a primary school teacher, teaching a Year 2 class. Meanwhile Tim is currently working as a control room manager and has set his sights on a career in social work, with an ambition to make a difference.
 
tim and jody hughes graduation

Tim said: "The degree has given me so much experience and confidence, I want to go out and use it to good effect. I've always wanted to help people."

Jody added: "I'm so happy working as a teacher, it's something I've worked so hard to get to. It will be nice for me and Tim to spend some more time together now too and watch our children grow up, as they're all getting older now."
 
View a video of Jody and Tim's special day below. 


Published on 13/10/2021