Graduation days are often special for students and their parents, but attendees of a Florida International University graduation ceremony were more than surprised after seeing a crippled student walk for the first time in several years.
Aldo Amenta added color to his Master's degree graduation ceremony when he thrilled the crowd by walking across the stage to receive his masters with the help of an exoskeleton. The moment was the highlight of the event.
In 2015, Amenta's life was changed after he suffered a spinal injury that left him confined to a wheelchair. According to a video provided by the Florida International University, the Venezuelan broke his neck when he plunged into the shallow end of a pool. After the accident, doctors pronounced him a quadriplegic.
Aldo Amenta during his Master's degree graduation ceremony at Florida International University | Photo: facebook.com/floridainternational
Following the sad event, Amenta had to depend on his friends and family for basic needs such as movement. Still, he had been hoping for a time when he could move his legs again, and all thanks to science, his dream came true.
According to Amenta, the difficulties of being disabled and pursuing his education were so daunting that he considered dropping out. Amenta was able to focus on his studies and finally graduate with the aid of his loved ones and a scholarship from the Miami-based institution.
On the day of the graduation, Amenta, who has since recovered some mobility in his limbs, only needed to be hoisted out of his chair to walk down to get his degree on his own, with the support of an exoskeleton on his torso and legs.
FULFILLING HIS DREAM
Walking on the big stage did not come without some practice. Before he was able to walk with the exoskeleton, Amenta had to practice for several hours. He had reportedly earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.
As Amenta took each resolute step across the stage, shaking hands with school leaders along the way, a clip from the moment showed the audience erupting in applause.
The walk highlighted Amenta's opportunity to continue fulfilling his aspirations despite the accident that changed his life's path. In a statement to People, the new graduate said:
"I wanted to walk across the stage like my fellow graduates to show that we are all equally capable of achieving anything we set our minds to, regardless of background, culture, conditions, or age."
Amenta expressed his gratitude for the life he now lives during an interview. He acknowledged that his 2015 accident would have left him dead for good as he had already drowned.
The accident occurred a few months into his first year of college, but Amenta has now completed his Master's Degree, and he has only gratitude in his heart for his friends and family and all who have supported him.
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