A shot senior’s graduation is a miracle and bringing tears and laughter not only to his classmates but the whole world. Only two months ago, 18-year-old Balaal Hollings was shot in the head; a bullet entering the senior’s temporal lobe. Doctors told the shot high school senior that his recovery would extend beyond his high school graduation day and that he would not be able to join his classmates, reported ABC News on June 5, 2013.
The shot senior missing his graduation was not just any high school senior. Balaal Hollings was an honor student, a football star, the prom king, a student council – and senior class president.
On April 6, the high school senior from Northwestern High School in Detroit attended the birthday party of one of his best friends.
“I had missed her dinner, so I promised to make it to the party,” Hollings told ABCNews.com. “After the party, some East Side boy was shooting for no reason. A bullet hit the wall, and then it hit me.”
Balaal Hollings’ mother had died two years ago and Balaal’s older sister Nubella Hollings had helped raise the successful, social, and dedicated senior.
During his two weeks of hospitalization and even more weeks of therapy at a rehab facility, the shot senior needed to focus on one thing; getting better.
“His sister told ABCNews.com that she didn’t allow her brother’s friends and classmates to visit him while he was working on his recovery.”
“My therapist said the best part of therapy is when my phone died,” said the shot senior.
“Doctors wouldn’t give him a time frame for his release but said that he wouldn’t likely be ready to return home until June 15 — weeks after Tuesday’s graduation ceremony.”
Being an honor student, the shot senior didn’t have to worry about being able to graduate because he already had all of his credits. But being the class president and not being able to be with his high school class on the last day they would all be assembled together was something he or his classmates would never be able to get back again.
Tuesday was that very last special day.
“There was a delay at the beginning of Tuesday’s ceremony. Students donning caps and gowns looked around the auditorium puzzled. Then suddenly Hollings, wearing a tasseled helmet, emerged on stage to screams, applause and a standing ovation.”
Despite all odds, despite a bullet in his head, despite his doctor’s predictions, and despite his sister’s watchful eye, the high school senior had fought the hardest he could in order to spend those special final moments with his classmates.
According to the video report, before being shot in the head, the high school senior had planned to become a football player. Now he is planning to use the more than $50,000 he has received in academic scholarships to study either criminal justice or law.
Not having prepared a graduation speech, the shot senior spoke from the podium with his heart.
“First of all, I want to thank God. It is so good to be alive. I got shot in the head, and I am fully rehabilitated. I forgot a lot of stuff. I forgot how to walk. I forgot how to talk. I didn’t forget how to eat!”
Besides talking about the past, the shot senior’s graduation speech also addressed the present and the future.
He spoke about the need for unity, about the difficulty of graduating, about the need for moving on, and, most importantly – “that we don’t forget about each other.”