Graduate takes first steps in front of classmates

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Angeline Lavasseur is used to being a little bit different than everyone else—the 18-year-old grew up in a wheelchair after being born with Spina Bifida, a degenerative disorder where the vertebrae doesn't form right.

"Just being physically different from everybody it's a challenge, because you have to do things differently," said Angeline Lavasseur.

She has done things differently from her classmates for the past 12 years--except on graduation day. Levasseur was just like every other teenager graduating from Pinckney High School.

"I'm walking when I get my diploma,"said Lavasseur.

For the first time, her friends and classmates would get to see her walk.

"I'm going to be so happy for her. She's gone through a lot through life, and she's worked very hard so I think she deserves to walk at her graduation, so it's going to be phenomenal," said Lisa Bergeron.

It was a phenomenal moment as Lavassuer walked across the stage by herself. With a brace underneath her gown and crutches supporting her arms, she left the wheelchair behind the stage and more than ever, felt just like everyone else. She got a standing ovation from the crowd.

"Just because I'm in a chair, I still fit in. I still do everything everyone else does," said Lavasseur. "If I can get through it with the challenge that I've got, there's no reason that anyone else can can't do it."

The teenager says she is attending Washtenaw Community College in the fall and studying physical therapy.
 

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