While most freshmen enter college not knowing a soul, Melanie Salazar is lucky not to be one of them. Instead, while Salazar starts her first year at Palo Alto College in Texas, she has a great upperclassman guide: her grandfather, Rene Neira.
She tweeted a few back to school selfies with her grandfather on her first day of classes. Her tweet has since gone viral, garnering attention from Yahoo, ABC News and BuzzFeed News. But neither Salazar nor Neira want any attention for it. She told Yahoo! she didn't want credit for it. "It's not my story. It's all my grandpa's story. I just so happen to have social media." Neira told BuzzFeed that he's glad he's able to inspire people but truthfully he explained, "I'm just doing what I've always wanted to do."
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
Melanie told the Huffington Post she and her grandfather were very close and that she likes to say he's her best friend. Salazar said it made her happy to see the story inspire so many. She even says her grandfather inspires her with her work ethic: "He'll spend hours in the library, studying on his own time because he's that dedicated to his education." She elaborated in another interview saying, "It motivates me not to give up," and that he's showed her the importance of her own education. Even Palo Alto College has reached out to express their happiness at both students getting their education.
— Palo Alto College (@PACPR) August 29, 2016
While Salazar has just started her education at the college, studying liberal arts, her grandfather has only one more class to complete his Economics associate's degree at the college. He hopes to continue his studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio for his bachelor's. Way to go, Mr. Neira, showing everyone that an education is timeless.