Melanie Salazar just started her freshman year at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas. For many teens those first few weeks at school can feel disorienting, but 18-year-old Salazar has an advantage: An older classmate who can show her the ropes. Salazar is heading off to the same college that her 82-year-old grandfather currently attends.
According to BuzzFeed, Rene Neira, Salazar's grandfather, first began working towards his degree at St. Mary's University in the 1950s. But life — marriage and children — forced him to put his education plans on hold. Still, he never gave up on them. Throughout his life he continued to take classes, but according to Salazar, "It was never a consistent thing, until my grandma died in 2009," she told BuzzFeed.
Neira's been working towards his degree ever since. He's currently enrolled in the last class he needs to graduate with an associate degree in economics. And he's not stopping there. Neira plans to continue his education by working toward a bachelor's degree in economics at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Salazar told the Huffington Post that she loves being on the same campus as her grandpa, whether they're grabbing lunch or walking to class together. "It's been pretty awesome," Salazar said. "I know it's only going to be for one semester, but I'm going to cherish that while I can."
In the meantime, Salazar and Neira are inspiring folks everywhere to stay in school and never give up on their dreams.
If he can do it then i can, this gave me so much hope😊 https://t.co/4jFtyRZ6iR— Mary Mansour (@marymansour55) August 25, 2016
Y'all it's never too late to pursue your goals💗👏 https://t.co/yUmXzyM8Ju— Julia Velasquez ♈ (@_Juliav23) August 25, 2016
"My grandpa is very hardworking," Salazar said about her grandfather. "He will spend hours in the library studying on his own time because he's that dedicated to his education. It's amazing that his story can inspire so many people in this way."