While every student is uniquely brilliant and inspiring, I was personally touched during my interview with Sterling Silverman, a recent graduate of Insight Academy of Arizona (ISAZ). After surgery left her a paraplegic, Sterling faced a new life with a new norm. Simple things like getting dressed, going to the restroom, doing daily tasks that are often taken for granted all had to be re-learned as she became accustomed to her life as a paraplegic.

Sterling’s schooling was also severely impacted due to her continued surgeries and health issues. She was unable to maintain her academic workload because she was frequently in and out of the hospital. ISAZ proved to be a solution for her, as the online classwork better suited her medical needs and requirements. Sterling credits her ability to graduate on time to the accommodations set forth by ISAZ and her decision to enroll in online education.

“That’s the thing with life. You don’t get to pick and choose what it hands to you.” –Sterling Silverman

Despite having every reason to be angry about her disability as a paraplegic, Sterling refuses to look at it that way. She uses her life experiences as motivation to further herself, whether it be academically or in other ways. Now that she has graduated high school, she is hoping to continue her education in college, focusing on game design and creative writing.  There are no excuses for her—only goals and dreams.

“No matter what, you always have to have hope. You always have to keep going.” –Sterling Silverman

Sterling wants to encourage other students who may be facing situations similar to hers, where a medical issue or condition is seeming to limit their abilities. There are ways to get help, whether it be through online education, personal counseling, or through services like Endependence Center. The key is to never give up, to always have hope, and to realize that it will get better.

“It does get better eventually. As long as you’re determined, anything is possible.” –Sterling Silverman

Watch Sterling inspire others with her speech at her high school graduation from Insight Academy of Arizona! (For even more uplifting videos and quotes from Sterling Silverman, visit her YouTube channel.)

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