Chancellor Lee Adams, the son former Carolina Panthers player Rae Carruth tried to have killed, is graduating high school next weekend.
Chancellor Lee, 21, will walk the stage with Vance High School graduates on June 5 at Charlotte's Bojangles' Coliseum. It's a particularly special milestone for the young man who wasn't supposed to live a long life, as Scott Fowler detailed for the Charlotte Observer.
Chancellor Lee set to graduate high school
In 1999, Cherica Adams was 10 weeks away from her due date when she was shot four times and killed by a hitman Carruth hired. He was convicted in a highly publicized trial and spent 17 years in prison before being released in 2018.
Adams, 24, died from her injuries that night, but Chancellor Lee arrived via emergency C-section. He has cerebral palsy and brain damage after being oxygen-deprived from the shooting and is taken care of by Adams' mother, Saundra Adams.
“He’s really worked hard,” Saundra said of Chancellor Lee, via Scott Fowler at the Charlotte Observer. “He’s been on the A/B honor roll a lot. I’m just so proud, so I may be a little loud [at graduation].”
Chancellor Lee spent six years at the high school. During the first four he was in the Exceptional Children's high school program, and the last two he was in a transitional program that teaches students life skills. He will always need a live-in caretaker and only speaks a few words at a time, Fowler wrote, but knows certain necessary skills.
Adams said she's not sure Carruth knows his son is graduating, but that hopefully someone will tell him and they can "have some communication" in the future. She believes that her daughter is watching down on them, smiling that her son has reached such an important milestone. The two see her in butterflies, which she loved.
Family theme has always been transformation
Chancellor Lee will be a part of the last graduating class at Vance since it will change its name to Julius L. Chambers High School.
The school's namesake, Zebulon Vance, was a Confederate soldier who attempted to keep Black citizens from voting after the Civil War. The new namesake, Chambers, was a civil rights icon who worked to desegregate the city's schools in the 1970s.
“It is significant that Chancellor is part of the last class from Vance,” Saundra Adams said, via the Observer. “And to me, it just goes along with our theme. Our story has been a story of transformation from the very beginning. You can take something that seems to be so bad and to have so many negative connotations, and you can end up making good of it.”
The Panthers, who drafted Carruth in the first round of the 1997 NFL draft, brought Adams and Chancellor Lee down to the field during a 2018 game they attended.
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