Local High School Holds Silent Graduation for Autistic Classmate
Graduation season just wrapped up here in the Hudson Valley. Thousands of students crossed the graduation stage and took the first steps into their adult lives.
For most high school students graduation is a relief. Leading up to graduation, one student was preparing himself to cross the stage weeks ahead of the schools June 20th ceremony.
Jack Higgins, a high school senior at Carmel High School, has "a severe form of autism and is sensitive to noise" according to CNN. Higgins and his teachers prepared him to walk across the stage with his fingers plugged in his ears to quiet the noise of family and friends clapping for their graduates.
Barbra and Pat Higgins, Jack's parents, wanted him to participate in graduation but were worried that he would get overwhelmed. Carmel High School principal, Lou Riolo, then came up with an idea to have Jack cross the stage as the audience stays silent.
Riolo was worried about some of the students not following through with his silent request, however, they all followed suit and also formed a standing ovation for Jack. Principal Riolo told CNN the students "rising to their feet after Jack received his diploma was them. It was not preplanned and no one told them to act like that. They felt compelled to show their support in that way. They made that amazing compassionate gesture on their own."
Watch Jack Higgins graduation video below: