YADKINVILLE - In an emotional graduation ceremony at Peace Haven Baptist Church in Yadkinville Wednesday night, 167 seniors began a new chapter of their lives, including Christian Hurt.
Hurt, a three-sport star for the Rams, broke his neck in November in Starmount’s opening-round playoff game. In addition to a neck halo, the 18-year-old donned a navy blue robe and cap and gold honors cord as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma.
Once his name was read, the crowded church erupted with applause as Hurt shook Principal Junior Luffman’s hand. The touched senior then raised his arms high above his head as the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Hurt stood there, smiling, soaking in every moment; someone who is “blessed” just to be alive and able to walk across the stage at his high school graduation seven months following the life-changing injury.
Despite not being able to actually go to school since his injury, Hurt managed to inspire his classmates, including valedictorian Brinsley Stewart.
During her farewell speech, Stewart pointed to her classmate’s indomitable spirit to overcome his life-altering trauma and still motivate others.
Following the ceremony, Hurt and his mother, Melody, shared a warm embrace before posing for pictures with friends and family.
Now officially a high school graduate, Hurt’s enthusiasm spilled over onto his Facebook page, where he wrote: “Can’t believe I just graduated high school … Thanks for all the prayers and best wishes! Another chapter written! Time to celebrate!”
Photos and well-wishes from family, friends and fans continue to litter his page to congratulate Hurt as he prepares for the next chapter of his life - the surgery.
Hurt will travel to Germany in November for a risky and expensive neck surgery that could completely repair his broken C1 vertebrae. While nervous at first, he says that he is more comfortable after hearing details about the procedure.
“I am feeling more comfortable with the surgery,” he explained last weekend. “Chance Cleary, the guy from East Wilkes that was hurt in Afghanistan, actually had his surgery at the same hospital in Germany. My surgeon didn’t actually do the surgery, but his colleagues did. And that makes me even more comfortable, because they are a step below him. Hearing that helped me out a lot.
“I don’t have a set date yet, but the surgery will be in November,” Hurt added. “[The surgeon] does two surgeries a month, so I will be scheduled for one of the two days in November.”
With the surgery being five months away, Hurt can enjoy and celebrate his most recent accomplishment of graduating high school.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.