Born in 1936 on April 8th

In himself he always had immense faith

He grew up in North Carolina on a farm

Picking tobacco all day really tired out his arms

He lived with his two younger sisters and a brother

His granddaddy, father and his mother

His mom and dad didn't even finish high school

But, my grandfather always thought school was cool

His grandfather encouraged him to be good at everything he did in life

That's why my grandfather continued to fight despite all of the hardships and strife

His family was poor and had no money for college

So my grandfather got scholarships to obtain his knowledge

On campus he was only one of four with colored skin

Amongst a sea of 4,000 white Virginians

He was not allowed to eat or live on campus

And was forbidden from attending social functions, like school dances

On June 8, 1958

My grandfather became the first black from Virginia Tech to graduate

My granddad worked hard to achieve his career

He graduated an honor student as a mechanical engineer

On this same day Christina he wed

"I will love you forever," is what they said.

They had three children, Michelle, Tracy and Chris

Never a beauty pageant or basketball game did he miss

He went to Cal Tech for a master's and Johns Hopkins to earn his Ph.D

Then a college professor for 21 years he soon would be

Unfortunately, after his kids were college grads and grown

His marriage ended and for a while he lived alone

He remarried Priscilla his new wife

And a battle with leukemia gave him strife

At VTech he had a dormitory named after him

And the school gives out a scholarship in his recognition

As of now he hasn't missed a Christmas yet

He was the one that bought me my first swing set

He helps with homework and praises good grades

He is young at heart despite his age

No longer in life does he scramble

Retired, he likes to play cards, bowl, travel and gamble

The grandfather of 10 and the great grand of six

He is always spending time with us and taking pics

I always tell him, "I love you"

He inspires me to "always do my best at whatever I do"

I believe he is the best grandfather ever

Our family will love and remember him forever

Brianna Conyers is an eighth grader. She wrote this as part of a classroom assignment to write a ballad about someone heroic. Her grandfather is Dr. Charlie L. Yates.