Today at graduation I saw something that made me tear up. No, I’m not ashamed to admit it. It was the second time I’ve seen something like this and, well, excuse me while I find another tissue.

In August, one of our students took a hit during a hockey game and was seriously injured. Injured? Try paralyzed. It was a shock for our community. Over the months, he not only gained movement, but he was able to come back to campus. They modified a dorm room for him, and he came to class with smiles and good cheer. One of those classes was in the library and we’d see him wheeling through on his way to or from our sometimes temperamental elevator. His determination was catching.

Today, TBO graduated. Not just graduated but walked to get his diploma. Yes, there were crutches, but he walked. If there were dry eyes….

It reminded me of another student from a previous school, a wonderful violin player. She’d woken up one summer morning paralyzed. No idea why. After a year at home in Taiwan for intensive physical therapy, she returned to school with her mother. Together they attended classes and navigated the streets of New York City. And at her graduation, she also walked. Alone, up to the podium and then back to her seat.

Those two young students had determination beyond anything I can imagine. I was in awe of my former student for years, and now TBO has joined her, constantly reminding me that with a little determination, anything can be overcome.

1 thought on “Determination”

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