Graduation is a nerve-wracking time for any college or university student. For many, it marks the end of their education and the beginning of life in the real world. Futures are uncertain and it can be an exciting yet fearful time.
It can also be a time to trust the person you’ve become, determined to take on the world regardless of perceived limitations — and that’s exactly what it was for one Florida International University student.
After a 2015 diving accident robbed Aldo Amenta of the ability to walk, he proved to everyone at his graduation that his persistence isn’t defined by his mobility.
With some assistance from an exoskeleton and trusted friends, Amenta rose from his seat and walked across the stage to thunderous applause, finally receiving the diploma he worked so hard for.
Watch the inspiring video below:
WATCH: Paralyzed college student Aldo Amenta gets up from his wheelchair and – with the help of an exoskeleton — walks across the stage to receive his degree from Florida International University.@LesterHoltNBC has his story tonight on @NBCNightlyNews. pic.twitter.com/odQlw1VLDt
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) December 11, 2018
Amenta was an electrical engineering major, which is frequently regarded as one of the most difficult degrees to attain. However, thanks to his expertise, it’s likely he knows a thing or two about the device he used to walk across the stage.
Exoskeletons give paralyzed people greater mobility by reacting to shifts in weight, with motors spurring the use of legs. The devices are expensive and only a handful of them have met FDA standards, but the results have been widely promising.
Amenta said of his achievement:
“In order to accomplish this, it’s very important to be perseverant. It doesn’t matter how hard you think things are going to be, or maybe you think that it is impossible for you to make it, but you’ll find people that are willing to help you.”
Naturally, Twitter users everywhere were moved.
Well done Mr Amenta!!! Groundbreaking achievement at its best right there.
— Alice Thomas (@AlasitsAlice) December 11, 2018
Amazing. We need more of this …bless this guy and may be have an incredible life ahead
— Drea (@pazzaz77) December 11, 2018
ITS PEOPLE LIKE THIS MAN AND HIS HELPER THAT MAKE LIFE WORTH LIVING! GOD BLESS THEM BOTH!❤️
— Edward D. Cockrell (@EdwardDCockrel3) December 14, 2018
This picture is moving👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
— WanboSports万博体育 (@wanbosports) December 12, 2018
Many found the feat to be quite the tear-jerker.
The type of stuff that can make you cry. That’s awesome.
— Derrick Jackson (@plutomagnet) December 11, 2018
Tears of joy here. It should be available to all spinal cord injury victims
— Kathy Hardman (@katsin) December 11, 2018
Congratulations, Ameta and what an incredible video to watch. Xx
— Emily Eldridge (@EmilyEldridge77) December 12, 2018
That’s Brilliant, Amazing 😉 and Awesome 👏 👏 God Bless Him
— Air Sign 🇺🇸 (@LeahAzucenas) December 12, 2018
Amenta’s college journey may be over, but his future seems as bright as the mind that earned him his degree.