Khalil Watson, a man from Virginia, had his graduation dreams shattered seven years ago when he was paralyzed from the neck down after being shot shortly before finishing high school. However, with the help of physical therapists and a robotic exoskeleton, the 25-year-old defied the odds and walked across the stage to receive his first college degree while a crowd cheered him on.
Having missed out on his high school graduation, Watson expressed his joy at being able to experience the ceremony in person, describing it as a dream come true. On May 15, he proudly received an associate’s degree in pre-social work from Reynolds Community College in Richmond.
The overwhelming response from people he had impacted became a reality check for Watson, as he saw their supportive comments on social media posts featuring his graduation achievement.
Watson’s life took a tragic turn when he was shot in the neck during a robbery on May 26, 2016, just weeks before his scheduled high school graduation ceremony.