For most high-school students, graduation is a major achievement. For Northwestern High School senior Balaal Hollings, being at graduation was nothing short of miraculous.
Almost two months ago, the senior class president, honor student and football star went to a party. When a fight broke out, the good Samaritan jumped in to help—and was shot in the head.
Hollings did not return to his Detroit school, but he had enough credits to graduate. On Tuesday, he came back to collect his diploma at the ceremony.
Video of the graduation shows what a huge and happy surprise his entrance on stage makes. Screams of joy greet the senior, who wears a helmet on his head instead of a graduation cap.
“It is so good to be alive,” the senior said. Noting that he is “fully rehabilitated,” he added, “I forgot a lot of things. I forgot how to walk. I forgot how to talk. I didn’t forgot how to eat.” He also didn’t forget his sense of humor.
According to ABC7, the graduate, who can no longer attend school on a football scholarship because of his injury, plans instead to study criminal justice.