WATCH: Teen Battling Cancer Becomes Family’s First High School Graduate

Black hat and yellow tassel of graduates placed on a wooden table - stock photo
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A young man battling cancer in Tampa Bay, Florida, reached an important milestone Wednesday while his friends and family cheered him on.

For many years, Richard Canales dreamed of being the first of his family members to graduate from high school, according to WTSP.

Even though his life took a dramatic turn when he was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2018, that did not stop the Lennard High School student from staying focused and working hard to meet his goal.

Hillsborough Schools shared video footage of the special moment Wednesday on Twitter, when several school officials visited Richard’s hospice room to present his long-awaited diploma.

“While graduation is postponed, we want to make certain that we can give you the opportunity to have this experience,” Superintendent Addison Davis told the graduate.

“Your family loves you, your principal loves you. We have so many individuals out there here to support you, and we want to make certain you get your diploma from Hillsborough County Public Schools, okay?” he stated.

Moments later, everyone clapped and cheered as Principal Denise Savino handed Richard the official document.

“We talk about what we have in life and look at all the pressing issues, today just brings us back to make certain that we’re grounded, and know that we value life, and that we value our family members and value each other,” Davis commented.

He continued:

These are the moments that we remember forever, and while everything else is going on, transitioning in the world, today has been the greatest day that I’ve had here in Hillsborough County in the last four weeks. So, a very emotional day but at the same time what a rewarding day to be able to give our first graduate of the 2020 school year to Richard from Lennard High School.

In addition to his family and friends, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) superstar Titus O’Neil was also there to help Richard celebrate his special day, according to WFTS.

Following the event, Richard offered words of advice to others who might be struggling on their own journey to graduation.

“Never give up. You will need this the rest of your life to have a good job,” he concluded.


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