Cherokee High School’s graduation ceremony Thursday night included almost 600 students who walked across the stage in bright red caps and gowns to receive their coveted diplomas; however, the journey of a few dozen steps was particularly significant for one young man, Elijah Cook. Elijah has met multiple medical challenges since birth, and had spent most of his life in a wheelchair. Elijah was determined to walk across the stage with his classmates, and began working toward this goal several months ago with the support of his mother and physical therapists. On Thursday night when his name was called, Elijah stood, using a walker, and made his way to Principal Todd Miller with careful deliberate steps of his very own. His Cherokee Warrior classmates and the audience of more than 7,000 people cheered him every step of the way.
"As educators, we strive to provide our students with what they need in order to walk across the stage and receive their high school diploma," said Miller. "But last evening, Elijah gave new meaning to 'overcoming an obstacle' in order to be able to receive his diploma, and that was pure determination and mind over matter. He was truly was and is a Warrior and inspiration to all."