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Cookeville best friends graduate 22 years after beginning college

“Returning to a classroom it is, it’s scary,” said Muncy.
Published: Dec. 18, 2020 at 6:33 PM EST
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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Think back to roll call in school, did you know who you sat next to? For a couple of Cookeville women their friendship stayed true for decades. They helped each other reach one of their biggest accomplishments years after they met.

“We went all the way through school together. Every graduation, every prom,” said Shanna Maberry Muncy.

Shanna and Diana Mabry Reich were friends since the 80s when they were in elementary school. Their journeys continued up to fall 1998 at Tennessee Tech.

When Shanna didn’t know about her future and Diana had a family tragedy, they paused their education after freshman year.

“I didn’t have my future planned out as well as I felt like I should have,” said Muncy.

Years passed by. Marriage, kids and family challenges kept the two from returning to Tech, but their friendship lived on.

“We always kept in touch,” said Reich.

They both began realizing without their undergraduate degrees they wouldn’t be able to advance any further in their career paths.

“After I had my son that was my motivation to go back and finish my degree,” said Muncy.

“You have expectations for yourself and knowing that I hadn’t done those expectations that I wanted to get done, I was like I’ve got to get this done,” said Reich.

Shanna went back then Diana.

“Returning to a classroom it is, it’s scary,” said Muncy.

In January their timelines aligned.

Reich said, “And then it clicked. We’re going to graduate at the same time.”

Muncy said, “It wasn’t planned. And that’s what’s so funny with this, it’s almost like destiny just had it all mapped out for us.”

Twenty-two years later, degrees now in hand.

“It was exciting knowing I had made that milestone, made that accomplishment,” said Reich.

Next they both plan to get their masters degrees.

“You’re never too old to stop learning,” said Muncy.

The two say their families motivated and helped them get their diplomas.

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