Mother, son will graduate the same day from Concordia University – Orange County Register

As college students stroll the campus at Concordia University Irvine, a mother and son chat under a shade tree like it’s no big deal.

But if you believe in lifelong learning, it’s a very big deal. Both are students and both share a passion for education and educating others.

On Saturday, the 21-year-old son, Mitchell Piantanida, will be awarded his bachelor’s degree and 52-year-old Danette Bonfield Bonillo will receive her doctorate at the very same university on the very same day.

In some ways, this commencement at Concordia marks new beginnings for both. In a few months, the son will start a music master’s degree where he also plans on earning a teaching credential. In a few weeks, mom will start a new job as clinical director of speech pathology at California Baptist University in Riverside.

But in deep and meaningful ways, graduation day also marks the end of a long and sometimes forbidden journey — a journey that began nearly eight decades ago in the hills of…

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