GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — On a warm June night at the Greensboro Coliseum, the first name called was one familiar to everyone in the arena.
“Caitlin Grace Little,” said the administrator from Southeast Guilford High School as Caitlin began the procession of students from Southeast’s class of 2021, as they came up to receive their diplomas.
“The last month, I can’t tell you how many people have approached us and said, ‘So, where’s she going to go to school?’” says Caitlin’s father, Chris.
The answer to that, of course, is nowhere, as of now. It’s been three-and-a-half years since Caitlin took an accidental blow to the head at cross-country practice and developed a rare form of amnesia in which she has relatively normal memory from before that day in October 2017, but can’t remember anything for more than a minute since.
Despite that problem, her parents wanted her to push hard to graduate with her class — and indeed she did.
“A lot of kids would have thrown their hands up and quit. She didn’t,” says teacher Chris Cook, who became her tutor in all subjects after her injury. “She did earn it – there’s no question about that.”
Cook would work, intensely, with Caitlin to ensure that she truly understood the material and did the work in the moment, even if much of that learning was gone not long afterward. But he feels it was the right thing to do.
“What would every parent out there want for their child? How would they deal with this?” Cook says. “This young lady – she’s athletic, she’s smart, she’s got one difference from you and me: She can’t take what she did in this moment and hold on to it for a longer period than you and I can. The big thing for her is she’s got to continue to work and keep being challenged because her being challenged I think that’s why we’re getting those nuggets, from time to time.”
Caitlin’s mother, Jennifer, is grateful for all the work both Cook and the entire team at Southeast Guilford did to get Caitlin to graduate on time.
“This is fantastic and I’m very grateful. It’s just mixed emotions,” Jennifer said outside the coliseum, a few minutes after Caitlin’s graduation. “I know I’m only supposed to say happy stuff, that’s what people want to hear but I had big hopes of restoring a few memories. And maybe it’s in there, maybe one day we’re going to witness someone sharing all this in there.”
See Caitlin’s graduation ceremony in this episode of Caitlin Can’t Remember.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the Little family.
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