Watch the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” and you'll get an idea of how Associated Student Body secretary Christine Hayden grew up. Hayden is the first University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy student to hold an office in the ASB.
Her grandmother was born to Greek immigrants in Pennsylvania, and her grandfather moved from the island of Lemnos, Greece in his early thirties.
“When my grandfather came to America, he didn't know any English at all,” said Hayden. “He was a plumber at a hospital in Pennsylvania. My grandmother worked in a pharmacy.”
Hayden's grandmother passed up the opportunity from her employer to attend pharmacy school. She was dedicated to being a wife and a mother rather than to pursuing a career.
“She wanted to go to pharmacy school, but she had other obligations,” said Hayden. “She says that I'm fulfilling her dream. We are very, very best friends.”
Hayden and her 96-year-old Yia Yia (pronounced yay-yah) even share a Dec. 6 birthday.
In the European tradition, her parents and grandparents lived under one roof. Although Hayden's grandfather passed away 10 years ago, she still has fond memories of Papou from her childhood.
“He and my grandmother watched me while my parents worked, so I was with them all day long,” said Hayden. “When he lived with us, he would only speak Greek to me. I can understand more than I can speak, and I can understand more than my brother. But I haven't kept up with the language much since my grandfather passed away.