Mikey Nichols on Holmdel student not brought on stage
Mikey Nichols who has been using a wheelchair after suffering a paralyzing injury playing hockey for Monroe High School reacted to the story of Lili Portman, also in a wheelchair who was not allowed to ride onto the stage and accept her diploma during the Holmdel High School commencement at Brookdale Community College.
"Quite frankly I find it disgusting. She completed the same education as everyone else. Hell, she even completed the same rehearsal as everyone else, but got stood up at the same graduation as everyone else just because she’s in a wheelchair. They should be ashamed of themselves," Mikey said.
"That’s disgusting. She got the same education as everyone else. Even the same rehearsal. But got screwed over at graduation for no reason other than her wheelchair. The superintendent should be ashamed of himself." Superintendent Dr Robert McGarry said he was unaware that Portman wanted to go on stage.
"Unfortunately, it was not brought to my attention that Lili and/or her family had made a specific request regarding how she wished to receive her diploma. It was not until Lili's mother emailed the board and me following graduation that I was aware of any situation," McGarry told New Jersey 101.5 in an email. "As to why I did not shake Lili's hand, it was because she was collecting her diploma on the side of the stage where the board president (Vicky Flynn) presents the diplomas."
Nichols, who's interning at New Jersey 101.5 in the hopes of pursuing a career in talk radio said, "I was disgusted but I can't really say I was surprised because people in this world don't necessarily take into mind that certain people need certain accommodations."
Mikey, who was also wheelchair bound for his graduation, spoke about how that was handled. "Actually the arena didn't have ramp available for me to use, so the principal walked down the stairs himself, they called my name, and I rolled to the front of the stage, got my diploma and went back to my seat." The advance communication is what worked for Nichols. "I was fine with that because they came to me and told me this is the way we're going to do it, and I said OK that's cool and they did it, they followed through with it."
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