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“This is my granny, Nola.”

My grandmother, Nola, graduated in the same class as me.

Granny always loved history, and the farmhouse she shared with my grandpa was always packed with old books. When she was young, she taught in two public schools and served on the county school board, but her teaching license was made void as soon as she got married. At that time, in the ‘30s, it was considered improper for a woman who could become pregnant to be teaching school.

Forever the teacher, granny always encouraged us to keep learning. She gave her own children dimes for every “A” they received on their report cards. Now she buys laptops for all her grandchildren who choose to go to college. But for me, granny’s biggest inspiration was the day she made the decision to go back to Fort Hays State University for her degree in history. I decided to enroll with her because, as my mother told me, "If grandmother can, you can."

My granny still says her claim to earthly fame is being a mother and a grandmother, and that the years she spent at home raising children were her greatest pleasure. But I'll never forget the look of pride on her face as everyone cheered and applauded when at the age of 95, granny and I were presented our degrees, side by side.

- Alexandra O.