COLUMBIA STATION, Ohio– Graduating high school is an important milestone in every young person’s life, but for one student in Columbia Station at Columbia High School, the ceremony was extra special.
Katharine Clark was born with cerebral palsy and is considered a quadriplegic.
Despite those physical challenges, she completed her coursework on time, while singing in choir, and also competing in both the Special Olympics and 4H events.
“Everything she does on a day to day basis is double the energy than we would need,” said her grandmother, Linda Clark.
But Katherine never let it get her down and at the start of her freshman year, she set a goal for herself to walk across the stage on graduation day.
“I want to make my dad proud,” said Katherine.
Vince Clark had always promised to carry his little girl everywhere but when he suddenly died in 2007 she began thinking of a way to honor his memory.
So with the help of her family, the staff at the high school and her health care aids, Katherine practiced for two years using special equipment to help her stand. It took one year just to learn how to use the device and another year to learn how to walk with it.
But Friday night as her name was called, with tears streaming down her cheeks, she walked across the stage and picked up her own diploma along with the rest of the Columbia Raiders.
On top of her cap were four simple words written in sparkling glitter, “I did it Dad.”
“She’s just an awesome young lady,” said her teacher, Sarah Jones.
And the beautiful girl with the big smile had one simple message for everyone out there who might be facing challenges. She said, “Just try.”