© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Carlton Comprehensive Public High School Grade 12 student Adam Pickering walks from his wheelchair to the podium to speak at the new gymnasium‚Äôs grand opening ceremony on Thursday.
After lifting himself out of his wheelchair and walking across a gymnasium, a crowd of almost 2,000 people erupted in applause and chanting for Adam Pickering.
‚ÄúI was crying,‚ÄĚ mother Kelly Pickering said of the crowd‚Äôs reaction. ‚ÄúHe memorized his speech and he did it so well ‚Ä¶ I‚Äôm just really proud of him.‚ÄĚ
Adam was one of several people to speak at Thursday‚Äôs grand opening celebration for Carlton Comprehensive Public High School‚Äôs new gymnasium -- his being the only presentation to receive a standing ovation.
Click HERE for more about the grand opening celebration as a whole.
After the packed gymnasium of peers and delegates were done chanting his name, the 18-year-old let everyone know how important athletics are to him.
‚ÄúI walk every day in the gym,‚ÄĚ he told the crowd.
‚ÄúI walk with Ms. Wilcox by my side and I walk to build strong muscles to help me be more confident every day. I walk every day in the weight room with classmates and I like it.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThis facility gives us all the ability to be physical and active in our life,‚ÄĚ Principal Dawn Kilmer said after Pickering‚Äôs short but to the point speech.
I walk with Ms. Wilcox by my side and I walk to build strong muscles to help me be more confident every day. I walk every day in the weight room with classmates and I like it. Adam Pickering
Adam was born three months premature and developed cerebral palsy shortly after birth, his mother explained after the ceremony.
Unable to walk his whole life, Adam underwent surgery to straighten his spine in 2010 and has been working to improve his walking skills ever since.
Although Kelly notes that Adam is unlikely to be fully independent of his wheelchair, he has been increasing the distance he‚Äôs able to walk since his surgery -- an effort she‚Äôs been proud to see him work on.
‚ÄúHe just needs to get stronger to do the walking and the gym affords him that,‚ÄĚ she said.
Also attending Thursday‚Äôs grand opening were Adam‚Äôs older brothers and Carlton alumni Don and Braden, who also expressed pride in their younger brother.
‚ÄúA standing ovation for our little brother was pretty amazing,‚ÄĚ Braden said.
‚ÄúIt was pretty exciting,‚ÄĚ Don added.
While she agreed that the crowd‚Äôs reaction to seeing Adam walk across the gym was an amazing experience, Kelly said that she wasn‚Äôt surprised, concluding, ‚ÄúCarlton‚Äôs like that.‚ÄĚ