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Freshman, 18, and Grandfather, 82, Begin Classes at Same College: 'He's The Reason I Went There'


Every freshman needs an older and wiser mentor. Thankfully, this 18-year-old already had a student in mind when she enrolled in a Texas community college — her 82-year-old grandfather.

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"My grandpa was a big part of why I went to Palo Alto [College]," 18-year-old Melanie Salazar from San Antonio told InsideEdition.com. "He kept telling me, 'Melanie, you're going to love it.' I'm glad I took his advice."

To celebrate her first week of classes, Salazar posted a series of pictures on Twitter captioned: "I'm so proud of my grandpa for finishing his first day at PAC this semester! 82 years old and not giving up!!!"

She told InsideEdition.com that her grandfather, Rene Neira, had started college in the 1950s, but put it off after he met the woman who would become Salazar's grandmother.

They got married and had kids, but Neira always vowed to go back to college eventually.

As his kids — Salazar's mom and her siblings — were growing up in the 70s, Neira took a couple credits here and there, especially as his children were going through college themselves.

But recently, he's finally decided to get his associate's degree in economics once and for all, although he'd have to retake many classes because some of his previous credits are no longer valid.

"He's very determined," Salazar said. "Once he gets his associates, he's planning to get his bachelor's in economics at [University of Texas at San Antonio.]"

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She said her grandfather is only one class away from finishing as she begins her first week of community college, but for the rest of the semester, Salazar looks forward to sharing the campus with her grandfather.

"I try to meet up with him before his class starts, and he walked me to my next class once," she said. "We're best friends, we get along great."

Salazar, who is still undecided on a major, said she also promised to help him learn to use the computer, where he often turns in his assignments.

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