Getting diplomas together

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Courtesy photo Kristina Borek, left, and Scott Borek before the start of last week's commencement ceremony at North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene.

By JASON ELLIOTT

Staff writer

So what’s the best way to celebrate a college graduation?

For the Borek family of Post Falls, that answer is an easy one — turn it into a family affair.

Among the graduates in the May 12 commencement ceremony at North Idaho College were Scott Borek, 50, along with his daughter, Kristina Borek, 28. Scott — who retired from the U.S. Army after 20 years — graduated with his degree in business, while Kristina — who served in the U.S. Air Force — got her degree in history.

“It was something that was always kind of in the game plan,” Scott said of going back to school. “I got out of the Army, worked for a few years and then decided, OK, it’s time to do this. It’s now or never.”

Both worked in supply while in service.

“I worked hand-in-hand with those that supplied to the aircraft,” Kristina said.

But something was missing for both until last week.

“I just figured, why not?” Scott said. “It’s just one thing to check off your bucket list I guess.”

The two had two classes together, geology and literature.

“With geology, she understands that rock and all that stuff,” Scott said. “It’s really not my cup of tea. It was really strange asking her, ‘hey, can you help me out with this. What do I need to do, what is this?’ But we made it through.”

“It was definitely entertaining to have him in class with me,” Kristina said. “Because if he didn’t understand it, I would more than likely. And if I had the same problem, I’d go to him.”

Scott added there were a few times where he had to distinguish between father and fellow student.

“You’ve got to quit thinking of them as little kids and let them grow up a little bit,” Scott said, “which is hard to do at times. But they’ve got to be able to go out and do their own thing. Like if they don’t show up for class, you can’t sit and think what’s going on. If you know ahead of time, that’s one thing.”

Kristina was still active in the National Guard in Montana during the school year.

“She’d miss classes once a month, so I’d have to make sure I took good notes and make sure she got everything she needed,” Scott said. “But when she didn’t show up for class, you kind of wonder what’s going on.”

During the NIC graduation, the two walked into the gym together, with Scott receiving his degree right before Kristina.

“It was an awesome feeling to graduate,” Scott said. “I know most people my age did this 35 years ago probably. But it was still an awesome feeling to achieve that. Graduation, it was like we’d accomplished this and coming home from a deployment. It’s different, but you’ve got that accomplished feeling.”

“There’s not many people that can say they graduated college with their dad,” Kristina said. “Actually, just a few seconds later, really.”

As far as the next step, Kristina will move on to the University of Montana to continue her education to someday become a history teacher.

“I’ve got a passion for history,” Kristina said. “If I can influence that one student to enjoy history, just imagine what they design from there.”

Scott, meanwhile, will put his business degree to use in the workforce.

“I’m kind of content right now,” Scott said. “I kind of did what I set out to do. My oldest son, he’s going to the University of Idaho next year, and Kristina’s going to Montana. It will be just a bouncing-around kind of thing. If we had a four-year school close by, I’d probably go back again. But moving is out of the question and it’s way too far to commute.”

But through it all, both Scott and Kristina are glad they got to share the experience.

“It’s never too late to go back to school,” Scott said. “If you’re thinking about it, just do it. I think we make too many excuses why we don’t do things. The older you get, the more you realize that life is short. Get out and do what you want to do.”

“It’s been a pleasure to do this,” Kristina said. “Yeah, it’s a lot of work, but if you love what you do, then it’s worth it.”

And the two won’t be the only ones to get to celebrate this year: Nickolas, Scott’s oldest son, will graduate from Post Falls High next month.

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