Of the millions of students graduating this spring, four of them will be Kanett Haynes' children. The South Carolina mom will be celebrating all of her kids at their commencement ceremonies.
"I'm extremely proud of them," Haynes told "Good Morning America." "Each of them has worked very hard to get where they are and I'm just elated to have had the opportunity to help them along the way."
Haynes and her family moved to the Palmetto State from Florida in 2007. As Haynes described it, it was a leap of faith she and her husband, who are now separated, took to improve their family life and set their children up for success.
"We decided that maybe we should move out of the state and try to buy a home for them and give them better opportunities and a little bit more freedom and less congestion," Haynes said.
The family of six landed in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and according to Haynes, within a week of arrival, she and her husband had found jobs and an apartment. Today, the family call nearby Roebuck, South Carolina, home and Haynes said her children have all found their groove in school.
"The children got opportunities that they probably would not have gotten where we were living in Florida … different growth opportunities, different leadership opportunities," Haynes said. "The blessings just fell on them."
Haynes' eldest son, Xzavier Killings, agreed he was able to explore new opportunities after the move to South Carolina.
"I found a connection with having an opportunity to play middle school football," he said. "That wasn't a possibility in Florida [because] you had to wait till high school but through that connection, that early-on exposure, I was able to play football, basketball, track and I received [an] athletic scholarship to continue athletics in college."
Killings, now 29, is set to graduate medical school from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston on May 20.
"It feels surreal," the aspiring pediatrician said. "I'm thankful for my mom, for instilling us the values of hard work, perseverance, and having the opportunity to enjoy with my siblings, to be in this grind, the adversity that we've faced, through a pandemic, through all the challenges, but still having the resiliency to continue has been really special for me and my family."
Charity Haynes, who graduated last Thursday with her associate's degree in nursing from Spartanburg Community College is also looking forward to the future and following her brother's footsteps into health care.
"It feels really good. A lot of the hard work that I put in this is finally coming to pass. I'm just very excited for myself," the 23-year-old aspiring pediatric nurse said.
Her younger sister Harmony, who received her associate's degree in biology, also from SCC, echoed her excitement too.
"I'm looking forward to a bright future, just for an interesting journey," the 21-year-old said, adding that she will transfer to the University of South Carolina Upstate to complete her bachelor's degree in science.
Not to be overshadowed by his older siblings, 18-year-old Jimmy Haynes is also getting ready to graduate with his high school diploma and head off to SCC in the fall to study mechatronics.
The family will reunite again for a celebratory party after Killings' graduation in two weeks and before he leaves for his residency program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in June.