One week before her high school graduation, Cynthia Pettway was hospitalized and left unable to walk – but that didn’t keep her from “walking” across the stage for the ceremony.
Pettway virtually graduated alongside her classmates at Leflore High School this week by rolling an iPad across the stage. With a two-way video stream displayed on the screen, she was able to remotely control the robot from the hospital.
The gadget was even dressed in a little cap and gown.
“I’m my grandma’s first grandbaby, her first one to … walk that stage,” Pettway told WKRG. “So I had to walk that stage—and I rolled across that stage.”
The initiative was thanks to a collaboration between Stephanie Maddox of the Mobile County Public School System and the USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, Alabama. But when Maddox first suggested the idea to Pettway, the teen was hesitant.
“She has worked very hard to get here and was devastated, so we introduced this idea to her…” said Maddox. “Took us a little while to convince her that although she couldn’t be here physically, she could be here remotely… And after that she got on board and was very excited about it.”
The robot stand-in ended up working splendidly. As Pettway was watching the video stream from the hospital alongside 40 family members, she says she started to cry tears of joy. Not only that, but the auditorium erupted in a wave of applause and cheering.
(WATCH the video below – our international viewers can watch it at CBS’s website)
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