When Stephanie Miner took the stage to get her diploma from Calhoun Community College in Tanner, Ala., it was a moment 24 years in the making.
As the applause washed over her she thought, “I can’t believe it’s actually here.” Miner has cerebral palsy and is restricted to a wheelchair. Nonetheless, she was determined to get her degree.
“Just because my legs don’t work doesn’t mean my mind doesn’t work,” she told WHNT in Huntsville, Ala., in an interview.
Because of her handicap she could take only one or two classes at a time. “I’ve had starts and stops,” she explains in a video produced by the college.
Her journey began when someone in vocational rehabilitation told her she wouldn’t be able to go to school and graduate. She rejected that answer and was determined to prove she could do it.
Starting in 1993 she attended classes, her parents driving her and her service dog, Astro, to and from the campus. Bit by bit she built up the credits needed to graduate with a degree in general education.
“Just don’t give up. Even if it’s a little hard, don’t give up,” Miner says of her journey. She now hopes to find a job in disability advocacy.
Her service dog reached his own milestone: 10 years in service, which means he’ll have to retire. Miner will have to get a new one, and her family is soliciting donations to help defray the cost. If you’d like to donate, you can find more information here.
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