Kids Gives Mom A Sweet Surprise During Dissertation Defense

A mom who had just finished her dissertation defense was celebrated by her kids in the most unique way.


Candace Hall, 31, had been defending her dissertation for a full 30 minutes last week as she is working towards her doctorate in higher education from Maryville University near St. Louis, Missouri.

And when she walked out of the room, she saw her three kids, ages 7, 6 and 4, waiting to dance for her. They performed to the song “We Did It” by 1K Phew.

Hall said, “I was shocked. I was happy. I was proud,” said Hall, who has been going to graduate school at night for the last 2 years, while working full-time as an academic program coordinator at Washington University in St. Louis.

She said, “I was proud of myself too because there were some nights where I was like I don’t know how this is going to work.” The children’s godmother and Hall’s best friend, had planned the surprise. She said, “We spent like a day drawing on the [signs] and we did the dance one more time after drawing them [to practice],” said Edwyn, Hall’s oldest child. “I was proud of my mom for doing this.”


Hall, who will graduate in May, said she has made it through the past two years of being a student, mom and employee thanks to help from her husband and her mother-in-law, whom she calls her “mother-in-love.”

She says that it was possible because she had a supporting family and said that she used her “me time” at night to study and made her kids a part of her educational journey. “She always does her homework at the dining room table, at the end [seat],” Edwyn said of his mom. “I sit next to her.”


Hall said people used to say that she was “crazy” for going back to school while working full-time and being a mom to three young kids. She wants her kids to remember that she earned her doctorate anyway. “I hope my kids take away that they can do anything that they set their minds to. I know people say that all the time to kids growing up, but I hope that I’ve demonstrated that,” she said. “I hope they’re not afraid to go after their dreams no matter what people say to them.”

Candace has shown us that there is no age bar or limitation if one wants to achieve their dreams in life.