Tuesday, July 31, 2007


As the day arrived I was excited and nervous. I didn't sleep very well the night before because of that. When Mike and Ricky got to my house so we could go to the Maybee Center together a news crew was there to interview me about taking the walk. As I had mentioned a little earlier in the post that when I was interviewed through the newspaper, or on TV they knew that walking across the stage was my goal. So I was interviewed by each of them again as a follow up for my goal. One of the newspapers came to the school and took a picture of me standing in the mirror with my cap on.

I was not exactly sure what the set up was going to look like at the Maybee Center or anything. Mike and Ricky were supposed to help me sit on the end of a second row. Then I was to go up on stage, get my diploma, and stay on stage, and sit next to the principal. I guess he thought I was going to do something crazy like moon everybody! Everyone filed in and the ceremony began as the graduation march started. The seniors began to come down the stairs. Mike, Ricky, and I were at the bottom of the stairs and off to the right waiting for our go ahead to start walking to my seat. I did bring my wheelchair, but had no plans to use it during the ceremony. So it stayed in the back. I made it to the seat fine. Mike and Ricky both sat near the back where I first started walking from. Us 92ers listened to the valedictorian, salutatorian, and the other speakers. The whole time I was looking (and listening) at the set up on the stage. Before the ceremony began I was asked to stay on the stage after getting my diploma, and to sit next to the principal. I thought that was nice of them to not make me have to walk back down the stage. As it was time for us 92ers to get our diplomas Mike and Ricky came to my side. We were first in line. In order to get up the stage we had to walk up the ramp. You would think that the ramp would be to the side, and that we would walk up to some steps. I guess they were not thinking when they built the stage! I am praying the whole time under my breath that I would not slip on this ramp. I had a death grip on Mike and Ricky's arm! They probably had bruises! I took one step at a time. There was a hand rail on the ramp so I used that while Ricky looked away, and gave my name card to the caller. I was the first name they called. As my name was called I began walking across the stage toward the principal to receive my diploma. There were TV crews and newspaper journalists to capture this historic moment for me (and it was a good human interest piece for them to share)! My concentration level was so focused on me getting from point A to point B that I really did not look to what was around me. As I reached my way to the principal I stopped to pose for a picture, and it was then I noticed that I was given a standing ovation! That really touched me. Mike carried my diploma in his left hand and so I held his right arm. We continued as I made my way to my seat on stage. There was one more step I had to face to get to the main stage. I was nervous about it, and also exhausted. Ricky said to me, "One more step Stephanie, you can do it." That meant more to me than he knows as it gave me the motivation to keep going. Once I got to my seat I let out a big sigh because I did it! It could not have gone any smoother. Without any more worries I observed my fellow classmate's getting there diplomas. Hearing their names and seeing their faces made me sad to realize that this might be the last time I ever see some of these people again. I began to cry and cry. One of the teachers was making a senior video and taped the whole ceremony. As I watched it later he had put the split screen on me during this point, and you could see tears rolling down my face. When all 133 of us 92ers got our diplomas and sat in our seats the principal went up to say a few things to our Class. At that time he read a poem that he thought represented what the Class of 92, faculty, and staff thought of me! I had no idea that he was going to do that, and I could not believe it! I never thought of myself as doing anything inspirational. I just lived my life. As he was reading the poem again the waterworks began! It was a very sweet poem and I am sorry to say that I do not remember the name of it. After reading it a couple of people that were already on the stage helped me to stand for recognition. I again got a standing ovation from everyone! I remember having so many goosebumps. Everyone knew that the principal was going to do that including my parents, but I had no idea. When the ceremony was over Mike and Ricky brought me my wheelchair. I was in shock that nothing went wrong! Thank you God! I went to the main room to turn in my cap and gown. The main thought in my head was that this is it. The last time I will see most of these people again. All I could do was hug my friends goodbye. Our graduation song was, "It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday," by Boys to Men. That's song matched perfectly with the way I was feeling. We left there and a whole bunch of my family and friends went to Mazzios where we filled up on pizza and I got some really nice gifts.

From that moment on I very rarely got out of my wheelchair to do anything. I would stand at the kitchen counter to do the dishes, stand to get in and out of cars, and at other people's houses. I found it to be so much easier to be in the wheelchair. At that time I grew out of the fact of being self-conscious in it.

Thank you for taking the time to read, MISS S

Friday, July 20, 2007


So now that I had my wardrobe and hair figured out it was time to make some more important decisions about graduation. I have mentioned numerous times before, I was the only person in my high school that was physically disabled. So besides the temporary physical disabilities like a broken leg or sprained ankle I was it. The school was not accessible so I had to fight to stay on my feet to go there. I was glad I did it for it kept me on my feet longer. At the time I was physically worn out, my knees were hurting, and lots of times I was ready to throw in the towel. I do feel my grades would have been better if so much of my concentration and energy hadn’t been on my FA (they weren’t awful, just average). Here I was with no one to relate to or even understand what I was going through. After school let out and I would go home, nobody knew how lonely or isolated I felt. The support that I got from God, my family, friends, and the community is what gave me the strength to go on. If it wasn’t for them I do not know if I would have made it!!

When I had gotten Homecoming Queen and was interviewed by the newspapers/TV, they had asked me what my plans were for the senior year. I told them my goal was to walk across the stage at graduation, and get my diploma. We were going to be graduating at the Oral Robert's University Maybee Center. There was much more room there to accommodate all of the family and friends of the graduates. It was a place I had been several times for special events. Several weeks before graduation our senior sponsor, Coach Nance, came up to me and was very happy to tell me that there was a wheelchair ramp at the Maybee Center that I could use at graduation. I looked at him as if he were crazy. I told him that, “I was not going out like that.” That “I had walked all the way through school, and knew my time of walking was ending.” That, “At the beginning of the year I set a goal for myself to walk across the stage at graduation to get my diploma, and that's just what I'm going to do!" Now that that was settled I had to decide who would help me walk. At first I thought about having some fellow graduates walk with me. I had asked my friend Tonya, and she said yes. As we were talking she pointed out that it was each individual graduates day to feel special. That she thought I should ask a couple of strapping young Junior guys to help (In My Humble Opinion, she didn't want me stealing her thunder, LOL! J/K). So I told Coach Nance, and he was cool with it. It was no contest in my mind who I wanted to ask. My good friends Mike and Ricky. They were my two best junior guy friends. Mike and Ricky were both in my Applied Economics class during the last semester. Mike was the gentleman that I spoke about in a prior post titled, “Every Rose has its Thorn”. We had been friends since the beginning of the year. Mike was good friends with Ricky. So that is how we became friends. Ricky was the funniest guy I had ever met. Through his sarcasm and quick wit he had me as a friend at hello, LOL!! They had both helped me quite a bit from that class. I first asked Mike, and he said that he would be honored to help me. I got very vaklempt! I told him that I wanted to ask Ricky if he would be my other helper. Mike thought that was a wonderful idea, and he gave me his number. Ricky also agreed! I was excited, and felt confident that they would not let me act like a drunk and fall all over myself at graduation!!

The pic below was right before the ceremony. Left to right is Ricky, Mike, and I!!!!!!!!!

Did I fall? Did I not? How did it all end up? To find out these answers and many more please join me in the next post for the rest of the story!

Thank you for taking the time to read, Miss S

Thursday, July 12, 2007


The end was near! And it was time to get prepared for the upcoming big day which was graduation! First on the agenda was what to wear. The senior class ordered caps and gowns several months before the day arrived. We had been told to for the ladies to wear all white dresses and white dress shoes. My mom and I found a cute white sundress, and I wore the same white dress shoes that I wore during homecoming. Yep, the same white dress shoes without much traction on the bottom. I was going to be walking in them even more than I did before. I knew this was not the best option for me, but I did not complain. I did not want to look any more different than I already was. As a gift my mom and dad got me a real pretty sapphire and diamond necklace.

So that was done, now the hair. It was baby fine, long, and an auburn color with bangs and I had no real intentions of changing it. Several weeks before graduation my mom’s twin sister and her decided to frost each others hair. This was not new for them to do. As they finished frosting each others hair they wondered what to do with the leftover frost. My mom had the idea of frosting my hair with what was left, kind of like highlighting it. She had been wanting to highlight my hair for several years, and I would never let her. Except this time I agreed! Instead of putting on the hair cap, and pulling a little hair to highlight through the holes on the cap. I mean after all that is what you are supposed to do! But my mom's brilliant idea was to put on the hand glove, dip it into the stuff, and apply it to my hair without a hair cap on or anything. So she proceeds! I am not saying a word for I think she knows what she is doing with this stuff better than I do. The glove is on, and she dipped it into the frost. She grabs some hair from the center part of my head, and when she goes to put it on my hair the glove slips! I end up with a glob of frost in that one section. Mom is trying hard at this point to not show emotion so that I will think everything is going okay. I think my aunt was just pretending not to notice. Spreading the glob down my hair to try to not make it look like a big glob…"Yah, that’s a great idea!” Then she grabs the sides of my hair, and puts some frost on that. Thinking that she has covered up her mistake well we wait like 10 minutes and then washed it out. After washing and blow drying it I looked into the mirror and wanted to scream! I had a big platinum blonde streak down the center of my head! Along with two platinum blonde sides. I looked like I was smuggling a family of skunks in my hair!! I couldn't graduate looking like this!! I needed emergency hair care!! So off to Keeta’s we went. She didn’t scold us to bad, and proceeded to try to tone down the streaks with a darker shade of blonde. When it was all said and done for some reason the sides of my hair turned pink!! If I had it done for prom I would have matched!! The blonde streak in the center of my head was still there, but not as blonde as before. So now I just look like a tropical fish!! Much better don’t you think? When my mom would curl it and put half of it up in a pretty barrette it would blend well and look like it was done on purpose. After several washes the pink was almost gone. Thank God!

I was so devastated by my hair at the time that I just felt like sharing. I look back on it and laugh so hard. Of course, I have never let my mom frost my hair again. She jokes with me all the time about it. When we are at the store she threatens to buy a frosting kit!

Have a traumatic hair story that you would like to share? Don't be shy, we have all been there:)

Thanks for taking the time to read, Miss S