It’s never too late to get a degree.
Just ask Rene Neira. The 82-year old is finishing up his associates degree at Palo Alto College in San Antonio coincidently at the same time as his granddaughter Melanie Salazar begins her first year BuzzFeed News reports.
“Sometimes I wonder, what in the world is an 82-year old doing, going to college?” Neira told BuzzFeed News. “But somehow, something keeps me going. I think it keeps me mentally alert, too.”
Neira, a Mexican-American born from immigrants, attended St. Mary’s University for a short period of time during the 1950s, but then put his college plans on hold after getting married and having kids. He took classes sporadically, but after his wife’s death in 2009, Neira became determined finish his economics degree.
It must be crazy being in school at the same time as your abuelo, but Salazar is enjoying every minute of it. The two often walk to class and grab lunch together.
“It’s been pretty awesome,” said the 18-year old student. “I know it’s only going to be for one semester, but I’m going to cherish that while I can.”
After graduation, Neira hopes to get a bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Texas at San Antonio. While he admits that he’s never been at “model student” Neira has grown to learn the value of a good education.
Salazar also calls her grandpa her best friend and biggest inspiration.
I'm so proud of my grandpa for finishing his first day at PAC this semester! 82 years old and not giving up!!! pic.twitter.com/IX4x5RhKXm
— Melanie Salazar ♡ (@melaniesalazara) August 24, 2016
“It only motivates me more to not give up,” Salazar said. “It makes me realize the importance of getting an education like my grandpa…so I can accomplish something great like him.”
“He’s very proud of me, and I’m very proud of him.”