Student With Cerebral Palsy Achieves Dream of Walking Stage to Get Diploma

A high school senior in Florida who has been a wheelchair user his whole life surprised his schoolmates when he managed to walk across a stage.

Christoffer Camacho has cerebral palsy and had kept secret his plan to receive the diploma marking his graduation from Steinbrenner High School in Hillsborough County on Wednesday.

When their names were called out, students from the class of 2021 walked across the stage to collect their awards and stop for a quick photo, as the crowd applauded.

But when Camacho's name was called out, the applause was ramped up a notch as he walked across the stage, albeit with a little help, while the hall resounded to cheers and claps.

The feat was the fruit of years of physical therapy, WFTS reported. and allowed him to achieve a goal that has had for "as long as I can remember."

“I’ve been working on this goal as long as I can remember.”

Christoffer Camacho has cerebral palsy and has been wheelchair bound his whole life. The @gshswarriors graduate had a surprise for his peers today—achieving his lifelong goal of walking across the stage.

— Hillsborough Schools (@HillsboroughSch) May 26, 2021

"I don't think anybody expected me to walk across the stage today," he told WTSP, "I wasn't nervous at all. But when I got up there, it was like an adrenaline rush hearing everybody clap and go nuts."

He described himself as a "firm believer" of being able to "accomplish anything, as long as you put your mind to it and work hard."

Meanwhile, his father, Gary Camacho, who is a school security officer with Hillsborough County Public Schools, said, "it means more when you've had to work that hard for it."

After tweeting the video clip which has been widely shared on social media, Camacho wrote: "So proud of my boy! Steinbrenner High is a special place, thank you for all you have done for Chris. God Bless you."

Others posted their messages of support. Calvin Dillon wrote: "So happy to be in the room where it happened."

A message from the account of Steinbrenner Warriors basketball said: "The quintessential WARRIOR right here! Well done Chris." Another user wrote: "how Inspiring! Congratulations Christoffer!!"

The video of the moment was shared on the Facebook pages of a number of news outlets.

One comment on the 10 Tampa Bay page by Sherry Deeter said: "I have Cerebral Palsy and walked across the stage in 1975! Congratulations!! Inspirational to us all!"

Meanwhile, on the page of Hillsborough County Public Schools, one person posted: "watched as it happened, totally made my day! Congratulations!" Another wrote: "It was an amazing moment today, seeing it live was amazing."

Newsweek has contacted Hillsborough County Public Schools for comment.

Google maps image of Steinberger High School
The front of Steinberger High School in Hillsborough County, Florida. Wheelchair user Christoffer Camacho stunned his fellow students when he walked across the stage to get his high school diploma. Google Maps