MINOT, N.D. (KXMC) – For many people, graduating college is an accomplishment to be celebrated.
But even more exciting? Graduating at the same time as a family member.
Three years ago, Angus Ellingson started his college career with Dakota College at Bottineau, and Minot State University, in North Dakota. It’s something he and his family never thought would be possible. Angus 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,” said Angus’ mother Mary Ellingson. “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.”
But it isn’t just Angus who will be crossing the stage. Mary, too, is graduating from Minot State University’s master’s program with a degree in speech-language pathology.
“Might be a little strange but it’ll definitely be exciting,” Angus said.
Mary said she was inspired to study speech-language pathology after watching Angus work with his own pathologists.
“Communication has always been difficult for him and challenging,” Mary said. “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.”
Both Angus and Mary 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 probably wouldn’t be here today,” Angus said.
Now that Angus has 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.
“I am hoping that one day space travel [to] other worlds is actually possible.”
Minot State University’s graduation is scheduled for Friday, May 14.