A suburban middle school student who has spent most of her life in a wheelchair battling cerebral palsy, celebrated a dream come true as she walked on a stage to accept her 8th grade graduation diploma Tuesday.
The Northbrook Junior High student, Emily Duff, wowed the crowd that gathered for about 200 students' graduation ceremony at Glenbrook North High School.
The 14-year-old fulfilled a dream she's had for three years at the very school she will soon move on to attend.
"I've pretty much been thinking about this since 6th grade, since I started walking with crutches," she said.
Some of her classmates told NBC 5 they're proud to see her accomplish a long-term goal.
"It was really inspiring to see someone accomplish their dreams like that," said 8th grade graduate Ryan Kreiter.
Although Duff said there were some times she wanted to quite, she quickly remembered how much she wanted it.
"I just kept going and my teachers keep me motivated because I told a lot of them for that purpose for when I really didn't want to do it," she said.
For Duff, staying focused and positive while working toward a goal is key.
According to the CDC, cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture and is the most common motor disability in childhood.