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Special needs student defies odds, walks at graduation

Graduation at Ozark High School included a big surprise for everyone as a student with a neurological disorder walked...

Posted: May 17, 2018 2:14 PM
Updated: May 17, 2018 2:14 PM

Graduation at Ozark High School included a big surprise for everyone as a student with a neurological disorder walked to receive his diploma in front of thousands.

Senior, Connor McCormick attended public school for the first time this year at Ozark High School. His family never expected the surprise they would receive at his graduation.

"They got him in his walker and he just took off," Connor's mother, Melodie Dotson said. "[He] took off, walked right up to where he needed to go and got his diploma."

Connor's teachers helped him get out of his wheelchair and walk across the stage in front of 2,000 people who were all cheering him on.

"It was something that we wanted to be very special for his family," Ozark High School principal, Jordan Price said. "Every other student is walking across the stage and getting their diploma, no reason Connor shouldn`t do the same."

It was an emotional moment for Connor's loved ones as his family was told he would live past two-years-old. He was diagnosed with Lissencephaly, a severe neurological disorder and autism.

"We were basically told at the beginning that he would never be able to walk or talk or any of that stuff," Dotson said. "When they help him like this and applaud, it`s just really touching to see it. We cried and I cried. [It's] something that we never thought we were going to get to experience and see."

Another milestone for the 17-year-old who is known for making his classmates smile. Connor even tried on his cap and gown to celebrate the big day one more time.

"Connor was able to overcome a hug number of challenges," Price said. "He impressed us all but inspired us to go above and beyond what we think is impossible."

Now that high school is complete, Connor will attend the Franklin County Learning Center where he will be a part of the adult learning program.

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