Super Senior: Bernadette McNeill - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Super Senior: Bernadette McNeill

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There is one benefit of all this springtime rain.

"A rainy day like today it's nice to sit and read a book, isn't it," librarian Julie Goraj said.

The second-graders at the Ludlow Elementary School are focused on Julie showing them a book, not their summer vacation. But Julie doesn't work alone. Her sidekick of nine years, Bernadette McNeill, has arrived.

"Here we are," Bernadette said.

The native New Yorker came to Vermont after her husband died to be closer to a daughter.

"I'll put my books away; that's the first thing I do," Bernadette said.

Reshelving the books can be difficult for the 92-year-old. She wants to read them all.

"I always read what it's about, always and that gives me a clue," Bernadette said.

Reporter Joe Carroll: So she brings a few books home once and a while?

Julie Goraj: She does, she takes books out, yeah.

Bernadette takes the saying "you're never too old to learn" to a new level. She strolls the hallways on her break absorbing the students' projects displayed on the walls.

"I can't even draw a straight line with a ruler, for crying out loud!" she said.

Joe Carroll: Why do you like reading all of these?

Bernadette McNeill: Because I want to know what's it's all about!

Joe Carroll: Still learning!

Bernadette McNeill: Oh yes! Yes!

Bernadette may have the curiosity of a child but age has caught up with her.

"It's kind of hard for me to see the numbers," Bernadette said, putting books away.

Joe Carroll: But you have a new challenge ahead of you with your eyesight.

Bernadette McNeill: Yeah.

She has macular degeneration. For an avid reader, it's frustrating. But she also doesn't know if she will return to the school next year. Julie says she can stay as long as she wants.

Joe Carroll: What does this place mean to you?

Bernadette McNeill: I love it... it's like another home.

Bernadette also volunteers at the town library with fifth-grader Annika Knudsen.

"She's very positive and she's always on the bright side of things," Annika said.

"I'm comfortable with her. I always say she feels like one of my children sometimes," Bernadette said. "It's love, that's what I think. Yeah, it is."

Bernadette realizes that her fading eyesight will be a new chapter in her life but she remains positive.

Meanwhile, the second-graders all leave with a book and perhaps a little knowledge that it's never too late to learn something new.

"Let me tell you," Bernadette said. "I learn every day, every day."

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