Grandpa, 88, Graduates College Alongside Granddaughter 70 Years After Initially Enrolling
Texas man Rene Neira first enrolled in college in the 1950s. He had been working towards his bachelor’s degree but fell left after falling in love, getting married and starting a family.
A 23-year-old Texas college student said she was “overcome with emotion” when she stood on stage alongside her 88-year-old grandfather as the pair graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio earlier this month.
“Everything was silent. I didn’t hear any clapping or applause but I was told that the whole stadium erupted,” Melanie Salazar, told, “Good Morning America” of the Dec. 11 ceremony at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The ceremony was a major accomplishment for both, but for Salazar's grandfather, Rene Neira, it was a life’s dream that took him nearly 70 years to complete.
Neira first enrolled in college in the 1950s. He had been working towards his bachelor’s degree but fell in love, got married and started a family, Salazar said, The New York Post reported.
Salazar received her bachelor’s of arts in communications. Her grandpa got his degree of recognition in economics.
Salazar said they both enrolled at the University of Texas at San Antonio together in 2017.
She said between her grandpa’s role as a husband, a father of five and a community activist, as well as his job at a local bank, he would take classes.
Although they never had a class together, the pair studied in the library together, carpooled together and on some days, have lunch together. Salazar also helped her grandpa navigate remote classes.
At the graduation ceremony, the pair that were dressed in matching blue caps and gowns took a photo together.
“I’m so proud of my grandpa and I’m so thankful I was able to have this moment, this memory, with him,” Salazar said.
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