- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 7, 2017

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - High school graduation is a milestone, but for Samantha Rager, her graduation from Jimtown High School on Sunday holds a little more weight.

Samantha, her mother, Angie Siebert, and grandmother, Carol Rager, will have all graduated from high school on June 4. Carol graduated from Mishawaka High School in 1975 and Angie graduated from Jimtown High School in 1995.

“I always thought it was strange when Angie graduated on the same day, and then it turns out that Sam (graduates) the same day too,” Carol said. “I could find some cases where parents maybe graduate on the same day if they went back to school, but not the same date in different years.”

Not only do the women share a graduation date, they also share school colors: maroon and white.

Angie said she’d never heard of anything like it happening before either, and, she said, this year carries additional weight. Her husband, Christopher Siebert, died in August, right before the start of the school year.

“So after that, Samantha said, ‘I’m dedicating this year to my dad,’”

Her mom added, “And she has a 4.91 GPA, so her dad would have been proud.”

While Samantha participated in varsity and competition cheerleading and dance, all three women were choir members during high school.

“There are just a lot of similarities,” Carol said.

The three women still sing together in church.

The family lived in Bristol when Samantha was young, but moved back to the Jimtown district before she started school. Angie said she always wanted her kids to go to Jimtown schools.

“It’s a small community, everyone knows everybody,” she said. “We coached Little League at Baugo, and when my husband passed, the community really came together. They take care of their own.”

The school has grown since Angie was a student. Her graduating class had 94 students, while Samantha’s has 130. In contrast, Carol’s Mishawaka High School class had about 500 students in it.

“I don’t know if there were that many people in the whole school,” Angie said, laughing. “Everything has changed in 22 years. The only thing that’s the same is the cafeteria and the lobby. The office is in the same spot, but there’s a different way to get to it.”

After her graduation, Samantha will take online classes through New York University. She wants to be a photographer, and took a course in it through the Elkhart Area Career Center.

Angie works in a dental practice in Elkhart. Carol and her husband own and operate J.R.’s Lawn Service, and she takes care of the books. Neither Samantha’s mom nor grandmother went to college.

“I got pregnant with her,” Angie said, pointing at Samantha. “But who knows, maybe I’ll go back for business and take care of (Samantha’s photography) business.”

“I wanted to be an accountant, but I got pregnant with her,” Carol echoed, pointing at Angie. “But Sam will break the line.”

It’s uncertain if there will be any further June 4 graduations in the family. Carol already looked ahead for her grandson, Samantha’s brother, but was let down with her findings.

“My grandson will be a freshman and I checked the calendar to see if it’ll be June 4 when he graduates,” she said, but, it’ll be June 6.”

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Source: South Bend Tribune, http://bit.ly/2qU4laq

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Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com

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