Young Woman and Her Terminally Ill 88-Year-Old Grandfather Graduate College Together

An 88-year-old terminally ailing man who first launched into his greater schooling journey within the Fifties reached his life purpose of achieving a level and achieved it together with his granddaughter by his aspect.

Rene Neira and his granddaughter, Melanie Salazar, 23, attended their commencement ceremony on the University of Texas at San Antonio on December 11, when Neira obtained a level of recognition in economics and Salazar took house a level in communications.

Neira, whose well being has continued to say no and has issue talking, Salazar mentioned, is now in hospice care, in response to NBC’s Today. Salazar wheeled her grandfather throughout the stage to obtain his diploma that was a long time within the making.

Salazar advised Good Morning America that Neira didn’t wish to “take the spotlight away from her,” however she insisted they share the day.

“I told him, ‘This is our moment. I want to share it with you,'” she advised Good Morning America. “I’m so proud of my grandpa and I’m so thankful I was able to have this moment, this memory, with him.”

College Graduation
A 23-year-old lady and her 88-year-old terminally ailing grandfather made waves after they graduated from faculty collectively this month in Texas.
Rattankun Thongbun/Getty Images

Today famous that Neira began to take lessons within the Fifties however took a while off when he bought married, began a household and pursued a profession in banking. He began taking them as soon as once more within the Nineteen Eighties after his kids grew to become adults and once more after his spouse’s loss of life in 2009.

Salazar advised the outlet that one in every of her grandfather’s life targets was to earn an economics diploma.

Today reported that the 2 bought their collegiate begin collectively at Palo Alto College in 2016. Neira earned his affiliate diploma, and he and Salazar started learning on the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Although they didn’t share any lessons, they made time to spend collectively.

“He and I would sometimes eat together in the cafeteria,” Salazar advised Today. “We would study side by side. Sometimes he would need help navigating the school’s website for his classes and I would help him. I often would take him to campus and take him back home.”

Salazar advised Newsweek it was regular to see her grandfather take faculty lessons, nevertheless it was a contented coincidence for the 2 to attend the identical colleges on the similar time.

Neira hit one other velocity bump simply earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic when he suffered a minor stroke. According to Good Morning America, he took a medical go away of absence from faculty. When lessons have been moved to a web based format, he continued his go away.

Salazar advised Good Morning America that she and her household requested if a level of recognition is perhaps awarded to Neira. University officers agreed, bringing a decades-long pursuit to a gratifying finish.

Melanie Salazar, Rene Neira
Melanie Salazar pictured along with her grandfather, Rene Neira, at their faculty commencement.
Photo Courtesy Melanie Salazar

“It was the week of graduation that we were told that he would be able to graduate,” she mentioned. “We were really pushing for it because we were hoping, since his health is declining, that he could have that memory before he passes.”

Despite going through challenges, Salazar advised Newsweek that she believes it was a miracle he was awarded his diploma and was capable of take part in commencement that day.

She mentioned the household pushed for him to convey his schooling chapter to an in depth.

“Since he is nearing the end of his life, he was ready to give up,” Salazar mentioned. “However, his family encouraged him and advocated for him, so much that they are probably more proud of him than he is of himself.”

She encourages anybody who needs to go to high school to take action and mentioned it’s “never too late to go back or to start.”

A novel expertise from her fellow classmates, she mentioned she appears to be like again and cherishes her time in faculty as a result of she shared it along with her grandfather.

“Very few people can say they got to go through college alongside their grandparent,” Salazar mentioned. “I also have the blessing to say we graduated together.”

Update 1/10/2022 3:02 p.m. ET: This story has been up to date to incorporate feedback from Salazar and a brand new photograph.

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