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

1 comment:

~*Magnificent Mel*~ said...

That is such a great story! I'm glad you made it with no problems. I know how it feels to be praying during graduation (or any important event) that nothing goes wrong because I did too, for different reasons. That was also sweet of your principal to read that poem.