An 18-year-old high school student left paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in Chicago just before he was set to graduate was met with thunderous applause as he crossed the stage to accept his diploma.
Jonathan Annicks used his wheelchair to do a celebratory move as hundreds in the audience cheered him on.
Annicks had simply walked out of his Little Village home on April 10 to get his cell phone charger out of his brother’s car when someone walked up and fired eight shots at the senior student and hockey player.
One of the bullets severed his spine.
“I kind of knew from that night that I wasn’t moving,” he said.
For the next month, Annicks, a senior at Walter Payton High School, underwent rehab at Schwab, where he learned to live life without the use of his legs.
He returned home for the first time since the shooting last month, as he prepared for his highly-anticipated graduation.
Anincks’ family said they have been dealing with the financial burden of mounting medical bills following the shooting. His friends have since set up a PlumFund account to raise money for the teen and the hockey league he once played for is also raising funds.
Annicks said he doesn’t hold a grudge against the person who shot him.
“I know that they made a poor choice,” he said. “I don’t feel any spite towards them.”
Following his graduation, Annicks is set to attend DePaul University in the fall.