A Texas teen battling cystic fibrosis was heartbroken when school officials told her that she couldn’t walk at graduation with her friends because she wasn’t completely finished with her last required class.
Reports say that Victoria McKennon, 17, has been battling the rare genetic disease for most of her life. It’s rare that people with the disease live long enough to walk across the stage for their high school graduation, but McKennon has beaten the odds. Even though she’s a great student, the teen has had to miss many school days because of her illness.
Despite her absences being excused, she has had to play catch-up in order to be at the same place as her friends. McKennon is caught up enough to where she only has to complete one class during summer school in order to officially graduate, and the teen’s parents have asked the school if they’ll allow their daughter to walk across the stage during the big ceremony with her friends in June.
“I've had this entire ceremony thought of in mind, at the big place and all my friends walking on stage, and then after you get off, you're like, whoa I'm done with high school. This is great,” McKennon told WFSB.
“I don't know how long Victoria is going to live,” Victoria’s mom Grace admitted. “Of course we always aim for the moon, the sky, and the stars, but in reality her life span is limited, and so every experience is very important for her.”
The family made the official request with the school to let the 17-year-old walk across the stage in June with her friends rather than at the tiny ceremony that follows the completion of summer school, but the school refused, citing their policy which states, “to be eligible to participate in commencement activities and ceremonies, all students shall meet all state and local graduation requirements.”
“Because I've wanted to be a normal kid for so long now, and this is like almost like the definition of being a normal kid, like your senior year, you get to walk the stage,” McKennon explained as her reason for wanting to attend graduation in June. “I've been looking forward to it for so long.”
The family has already filed an official complaint with the education department in the hopes that the school will reverse their decision.
“I hope that they will change their mind,” McKennon told NBC 5 News. “I don't want special treatment. I don't want them to give me a diploma I haven't earned. I just want to walk the stage with my friends. That’s all I want.”
Photo Sources: NBC 5 News, WFSB