Six Annapolis area students overcome odds to graduate

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By Hannah Anderson

Graduating from high school is a milestone for all students, but for some it's even more momentous. For a student with cerebral palsy, two who survived cancer, one who had dropped out and two who struggled academically, graduation day signifies the ability to overcome potential obstacles on the road to educational success.

GradStoriesChuckie HolmWChuckie Holm, South River High School

Because of cerebral palsy, 18-year-old Chuckie Holm is confined to a wheelchair and has difficulty speaking. He communicates through "yes" or "no" questions and by slowly typing on a computer he controls with a joystick, but that has not kept him from succeeding in school. Chuckie gets high grades and is on track to graduate with his non-disabled classmates in June.

"He's a very intelligent young man but is stuck in a body that will not function for him," explains Ellen Wasserman, special educator and reading specialist at South River. "Chuckie has every kind of difficulty you could imagine, and he's still pushing his way through to graduate in four years, when often students take longer."

Not only is Chuckie achieving his goals, but he has also maintained a positive attitude along the way.

"Chuckie is diligent, the life of the party. He's never upset; he's always happy; he's always brightening up every classroom he is in," Wasserman says.

After he graduates, Chuckie wants to go to Senior Week in Ocean City and then to college at Anne Arundel Community College and the University of Maryland. He hopes his story of perseverance will inspire others.

"If I can do it, everyone can," Chuckie says. "It is all about attitude. Keep smiling."

Click next below to read about Morgan Creek, Annapolis High student, and other graduates overcoming challenges to graduate.

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