Grandfather Rex This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Learning, consciously or unconsciously, is inherent in all of us. Whether it is learning a new recipe, trying to get a DVD player to work, or through an educational resource, all of us continue to learn throughout life. My grandfather taught me this and so much more.

Five years ago, when it was time for my cousin to start college, my 75-year-old grandfather, Rex, decided to do the same. He enrolled at a community college, taking classes twice a week until his death last summer.

As a student, my grandfather spent countless hours in his office studying and completing assignments. He consistently earned a 4.0 GPA and made the dean’s list. Although he was twice as old as his professors, he loved ­going. He said, “You can never know too much, no matter how old you are.” He loved everything about school. Learning new things was truly his ­passion.

My grandfather’s will to learn was a great example for me to do my best in school. We were always competing with each other, trying to bring home the better grade.

When he turned 80 and still had a full head of hair, my grandfather felt like he could take on the world. He felt like he could beat the unstoppable no matter what came his way – whether it was his continuing battle with cancer or a tough ­professor.

Some people look to Superman or Batman as their hero, but my grandfather will forever be my hero, the one who always came to my rescue. My grandfather was inducted into the hall of fame at his high school as one of the school’s most accomplished football players. When I did some research I discovered that his nickname was Atlas. In Greek mythology, Atlas held the celestial heavens on his shoulders. For my grandfather’s football team, he was their Atlas, holding the team together. He was my Atlas too, as the foundation of our family.

In my times of need he was always there to support me and celebrate my accomplishments. I could count on him to help me out and stand by me. The strength he shared with me will continue to hold me up as I forever keep his memory alive in my heart and mind.

My grandfather helped me realize that learning is a trait we are all born with and it should continue throughout our lives. In our infancy we begin the learning process by rolling, crawling, walking, and talking. As we mature we continue to learn in many ways from our scholastic studies, our peers, the media, and our families.

I learned a lot about life from my grandfather. By the time we become young adults and graduate high school, many of us are asked to choose an area of study for our eventual careers. It is then that this inherent trait is put to the test as we look to the past to determine our future. This is the challenge college entrants face as they determine their strength of character and their will to continue the learning process.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Woody said...
Oct. 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm
Love this - we would be so happy at The Attic Reader if you would post your story there.  It is a website designed to celebrate ordinary people who have an extraordinary impact on our lives.  Visit us at
that_one_song said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm

i love this article. it shows that we should all do our best, even fi we are eighty


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