SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - They wore caps and gowns, but they just as easily could have been in capes.
"We think our parents are heroes," said Michael O'Neal, executive director of Parent University. "And their behavior of continued learning is something they are passing down to their children and will benefit the community."
That was the most important procession Thursday night, as another class of graduates took another step forward through Parent University and the parenting skills they honed went another step deeper into the lives of area children.
"Any time you're in a community and you work with children, everybody's a parent," said graduate Tina Hayward. "So, these classes are really for the community. They're for everyone."
Parent University has been supporting local families for more than 15 years, providing education and parenting training to adults as a way to impact the lives of children.
"It helped me a whole lot," said Johannes Carter, who also graduated. "It helped me with the kids. I learned a lot from it."
The ongoing learning experience holds periodic graduation ceremonies like the one Thursday night to allow participants to celebrate completing another level of education.
But it does not represent the completion of the course because most students don't leave Parent University.
"They can graduate again," said O'Neal, "because parenting always gets more complicated and the learning should never stop."
"I feel that I've become a better parent, I've become a better educator and I've learned to be resilient," said Hayward, who has been involved with Parent University for 12 years and plans to continue because, as a teacher, she sees who benefits from the program. "It's my children, your children, everybody's children."
Their lives are being improved by the responsible adults in Parent University.