Crowd Roars with Applause as Student with Cerebral Palsy Stands from Wheelchair at Graduation


High school seniors around the country can almost taste the delicious freedom of graduation. Ready or not, they stand prepared to close their high school chapters and step into a new future.

On June 10, 2017, a senior named Chloe Sutterfield was among the graduating class at King William High School in Virginia.

It’s been almost one full year since Chloe’s name was called, yet her big moment is still inspiring people across the country.

Chloe lives with cerebral palsy. She uses a wheelchair to help her in day-to-day life.

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On her graduation day, Chloe sat in her wheelchair, clad in a white cap and gown. Excited, she was ready for her name to be called, knowing she had big plans for the moment she accepted her diploma.

Chloe’s physical therapist was by her side. Chloe’s brother, Blake, was on her other side.

When her turn came, Chloe did the unexpected. With the help of her brother and her physical therapist, Chloe stood up from her wheelchair and grasped onto a walker.

Wearing a huge smile, Chloe walked across the stage and accepted her diploma. The audience rose to their feet to watch, and hollered with love and support for Chloe.

Chloe’s friend Kami Newbill captured the milestone moment on video. The video has since gone viral, amassing millions of views and inspiring people around the globe.

“She has been in a wheelchair her entire life but that doesn’t stop her from an active lifestyle,” Kami later expressed. “She volunteers her time at various camps, community events and her goal on graduation day was to walk across the stage to receive her diploma.”

After the momentous occasion, Chloe took to social media to write about her amazing day. “I want to say thank you to all my friends, family, and former teachers who came out to celebrate my biggest accomplishment so far,” the graduate wrote.

Leaving high school on a high note, it seems Chloe was well positioned to take on her future. She has already learned one of life’s most important lessons — to surround yourself with family and friends who show unconditional love.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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