A family of graduates

EVART – A college graduation is a milestone achievement in any individual’s life.

But it’s not often that four individuals in one family celebrate that achievement at the same time.

Cindy Sible and her three daughters Megan Campbell, Amanda Lee-Sible and Danielle Lee-Sible all finished college this spring.

After a change in degree, a waiting list and a stroke of fate, the sisters, each a year apart in age, all graduated from college within five weeks of each other and their mother.

“We thought, ‘How in the world did this happen?’” Cindy said. “We didn’t think about it until a few months ago and we said, ‘Wow, we’re all doing this together.’”

Megan, 27, the oldest sibling, began college one year before Amanda, 25, who started one year before Danielle, 24. Each aimed for a four-year degree. Cindy, 50, entered a

college program in 2010, pursuing a two-year degree.

Danielle graduated on April 28, Amanda and Cindy graduated May 5 and Megan will graduate in June.

The group never expected to finish at the same time, Amanda said, but some unforseen variables brought the


Megan received her associates degree in another field before deciding to pursue nursing, Amanda was put on a waiting list before she could enter the four-year nursing program she graduated from and Megan started on time.

“(Megan) went two extra years, (Amanda) went an extra year and then Danielle went (and finished on time),” Cindy said. “Then Joey, my youngest, actually finished before all of (us).”

Joey Lee-Sible, 23, completed a two-year program at MMCC and graduated in 2011 with an emergency medical technician certification.

Megan graduated from Baker College in Cadillac with a nursing degree, Amanda graduated from Mid Michigan Community College in Harrison with a nursing degree, Danielle, graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in business aviation and Cindy also graduated from MMCC with an early childhood education degree.

Both enrolled in the same college, Amanda and her mother had classes together and often studied with each other.

Graduating with her mom is just like graduating with a peer, Amanda said.

“We’re classmates. We work off each other to get better grades,” Amanda said.

The pair both received As in their classes, and Cindy graduated with a 4.0.

Though the Lee-Sible family has a lot to celebrate, their success did not come easy.

Megan had two children during her college career and Danielle suffered from a broken neck after being in a car accident during her first year of college.

“They faced a lot to finish,” Cindy said.

Though she hadn’t thought of going back to school after working as a home health aid for more than 20 years, Cindy said her daughters encouraged her to pursue an education in a field she was passionate about.

“If the kids can do it, I can,” Cindy said.

More than her own achievements, Cindy is proud of all of her children. She didn’t attend her own graduation ceremony because her daughter’s was the same day.

“I came from a family where nobody went to college, so for all four of my kids to make it through college is pretty cool for me,” Cindy said.

With a college graduation behind them, the members of the Lee-Sible family are focusing on the next phase of life.

Danielle and Cindy both are looking forward to more time in the classroom. Cindy will go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Baker College and Danielle is considering graduate school.

Megan and Amanda both hope to secure nursing positions in Big Rapids and Joey currently works as an EMT firefighter and has a graphic design business in Big Rapids.

The Evart family is planning a party in July to celebrate the success of the four recent graduates along with Joey’s graduation last year.

“We decided that we’re just going to have a big barbecue celebration for all of us,” Amanda said.