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Graduation a family affair for siblings





It's been seven years in the works. But on Saturday, Grinnell residents Ramon and Guadalupe Chavez got to watch all three of their children graduate from college on the same day -- from the same school.

Yazmin Chavez, 25, started off the day with a pinning ceremony for nursing graduates of the Hays campus of North Central Kansas Technical College.

Later in the afternoon, she joined younger brothers 23-year-old Roberto and 21-year-old Eddie in graduation ceremonies in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center at Fort Hays State University's Sheridan Hall.

Yazmin earned a certificate for practical nursing and has been accepted into the registered nursing program at NCK Tech, where she will pursue an associate's degree this fall.

Roberto and Eddie earned their associate's degrees Saturday, both from the technical college's business management program.

Following graduation, they all went to the siblings' house in Hays, which their parents bought for them two years ago, and partied with family and friends before getting back to work Monday.

Roberto has worked part-time for Nex-Tech Wireless for almost a year and will go full-time there Monday while taking online classes in pursuit of a bachelor's degree.

Eddie is an office assistant at Centennial Carpets and plans to begin work on a bachelor's degree in accounting from Fort Hays this fall.

Yazmin will continue working as an LPN at Cedar View Assisted Living this summer and next year while attending school.

Yazmin first came to Hays in 2007 to pursue a degree in early childhood development from FHSU before deciding to switch majors.

Her brothers followed her to Hays, and while Roberto and Eddie both took classes at Fort Hays, they ended up at the technical college two years ago. Older sis then decided to follow her brothers to NCK Tech because she liked the college's "hands-on skills, high-tech careers" philosophy.

"The lab here is so hands-on," Yazmin said of NCK Tech's nursing laboratory. "We get to practice every procedure on monikers. It's more theory at Fort Hays, more hands-on here. I really like it."

She said she also likes having her brothers as roommates.

"They're all so supporting and encouraging and always there," Yazmin said.

Robert and Eddie laughed, adding that, for the most part, living with each other isn't a lot different than when they grew up on a ranch in Gove County and attended schools in Grinnell and Grainfield.

Yazmin said she is the first in her family even to attend college, so "it's a really big deal" she and her siblings are graduating from college.

"I had a life plan," Yazmin said. "Be done with school at 22, married at 25."

"It didn't quite work out that way," she said with a smile. "But we're graduating, so it doesn't matter."