This Mother’s day, we wanted to share the story of a mother and son who will have the unique experience of graduating from university together. Neila and Josh Stubbard are from Reserve Mines, Nova Scotia, and will be graduating side by side from Cape Breton University this November.
From the time he was young, Josh knew he wanted to work in healthcare. Watching his mother become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) while he was in high school, Josh had the opportunity to see first-hand what it takes to be a student as well as a nurse. His mother’s experience inspired Josh to apply straight out of high school. “When I got accepted into the Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BScN) program at CBU, I knew I had found the right fit for me,” says Josh.
Neila’s journey to CBU wasn’t quite as linear. She began working in the healthcare field in 2010 after graduating from the Continuing Care Assistant (CCA) program at Nova Scotia Community College. After working for two years, Neila felt it was time to further her education and became an LPN . “I always knew I wanted to go even further than that,” says Neila. “But there was no way I could complete a four-year Registered Nurse (RN) program with three children and a husband who worked out west.” That’s when she heard about CBU’s LPN to BScN pathway program. It just so happened that this discovery occurred at the same time her son was working his way through the nursing program. “I was never worried about going to the same school as Josh. After all, I think I’m a pretty cool mom,” says Neila, laughing. “He may say otherwise.” “Going to the same school as my mom has been interesting,” says Josh. “At first I thought it might be awkward, but then I thought about how proud I was of her for taking this step and trying to better herself.”
As their educational journey progressed, the pair realized the benefit of attending CBU together. Neila was able to support Josh and provide advice from her nursing experience, and in turn, he offered fresh insight and helped Neila with science courses. Both Neila and Josh say they wouldn’t have made it through without one another.
Their time at CBU became a bonding experience, as they spent late nights studying at the kitchen table and pushing each other to accomplish goals. The pair even got to take a lab together, which Josh says was pretty cool, despite the fact that the professor refused to believe Neila was his mother. “She gets that a lot,” says Josh.
With only a few months to go, Josh and Neila are beginning to reflect on their university experience and how it has affected their relationship. “The relationship between mothers and sons is one of the strongest bonds ever, and I’m lucky enough to have three wonderful boys,” says Neila. “But going through this program with Josh has connected us in a different way. Words cannot describe how proud I am of him and his accomplishments.” The pride goes both ways in this family, and Josh says he couldn’t be more proud of his mother and how hard she has worked to reach her goals. “She really inspires me to be the best nurse that I can be,” says Josh. “If I’m half the nurse she is now, I’ll be thankful.”
On Mother’s Day, Josh wants to let Neila know that he wouldn’t be the man he is today without her. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, not just in the last four years, but all 21. You are amazing and I love you.”
Neila also has a message for Josh. Neila’s family endured the loss of a very special lady in 2018. “This Mother’s day I want Josh to know that if his Nannie Annie was here today, she would say, ‘you’re smart like your Nannie!’”
Happy Mother’s day to Neila, and all of the Moms, Grandmothers, and special guardians who support our students each and every day!