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Teen overcame several obstacles to walk the stage on graduation day: 'Didn't think it was possible'

Despite starting high school in a wheelchair, he walked across the stage to collect his award, receiving a standing ovation from the entire arena.

Teen overcame several obstacles to walk the stage on graduation day: 'Didn't think it was possible'
Cover Image Source: Twitter | @officialSPS

The determination and perseverance that some people have are awe-inspiring. They set a certain goal and achieve it no matter what and this 18-year-old young boy named Collin Langston is no different. Four years ago, when he started high school, he was in his wheelchair but on his graduation on May 17, he walked and the entire arena stood up and cheered for him. The moment was caught on video and posted on Springfield Public Schools' official Twitter page.

Image Source: Twitter/ @officialSPS
Image Source: Twitter | @officialSPS


The video is captioned, “Collin Langston walked at his high school graduation. When the @GHSEvents senior started high school four years ago, he had never left his wheelchair. Today, the entire arena stopped and cheered as he walked." Langston can be seen walking on the stage to collect his award. He looks extremely happy while the crowd can be heard clapping and cheering for him. It is a proud moment for him as he walks to get his diploma and gets applause from everyone around him.

Image Source: Twitter/ @officialSPS
Image Source: Twitter | @officialSPS

Langston was born with a congenital disorder, arthrogryposis, which makes joints contract throughout his body. It apparently happens when there is decreased movement in the womb, which leads to extra connective tissue to develop and fix joints in place, according to Springfield News-Leader. He said that he has evolved since he started, "Before my surgeries, I didn't think it was a possibility but now that I have built up my strength, I have the ability to do that."


He attended Hickory Hills Elementary and Middle School with the help of a full-time nurse, Nikki Digger but by the end of eighth grade, his legs were bent which made it difficult for him to sit in a wheelchair. Langston’s parents sought advice from a specialist in Florida. He suggested surgeries to straighten and strengthen his legs and his parents decided to go ahead with it.


He joined his freshman year at Glendale but two months later, his family left for Florida where they stayed until January 2020. Langston went through two surgeries, one on his right leg and then one on his left which included breaking his legs, shortening his femur by three inches, and pinning the bones to heal. Each leg was also given a “super knee” implant. He was able to access the school course which was available for students who were “homebound” for medical or other reasons.


Dugger who has worked with Langston since he was a child, said that his ability to study at home was a blessing through the end of his freshman and sophomore years. Moreover, his physical therapy was extensive. She said that the pandemic gave them a lot of time to strengthen him. "We started out with little tiny things, just one step. There were tears happening. It was just scary," Dugger shared. "He had all sorts of nerve feelings and he didn't know what the feelings were."

First, he used a custom walker and slowly started walking short distances while rolling or holding a ball. He now apparently uses a forearm crutch. "It used to take us 20 minutes to get from the front door to the end of the driveway," Dugger said. "Now in 10 minutes, we can go two driveways down and back. It has been such a progression."


He has reportedly met and reached all the goals that were set for him in physical therapy. "He doesn't let things stop him and what we see that he can't do, we scoop in and help," Dugger said. "But he has become so independent.” He was able to return to Glendale at the start of his junior year. He studied along with his peers and was also active in the National Honor Society and part of the yearbook staff.

"He types with two fingers and still gets As," Dugger said. He has earned a GPA of 4.6 on a weighted 5.0 scale.


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