Michel: Zachary Hitt uses his hands at inspirational graduation

Published 12:07 am Saturday, May 21, 2016

I’ve spent the past week looking at Facebook pictures of happy graduates and even happier parents.

Whether the milestone is the completion of kindergarten, eighth grade, high school or college, congratulations are in order.

I believe the celebration is as important to the parents and family as it is to the graduate.

This year, there was one graduation video that was different from all the rest. When Zachary Hitt began his walk across the stage to receive his diploma from Hahnville High School, the audience erupted in wild applause and a standing ovation.

Why? Because Zachary walks on his hands.

“He was born with Caudal Regression Syndrome and missing most of his lower spine therefore his legs didn’t work,” Al Hitt, Zachary’s father, said.

The doctors said Zachary would live for only a few hours. When that time passed, they said he would survive a few days and never leave the hospital, but Zachary continued to defy the odds.

Zachary’s legs were fixed and bent at more than a 90-degree angle.

During a surgery to straighten his legs when he was about 18 months old, the decision was made to amputate the legs.

“Within hours of the surgery, his mobility improved,” Al said.

“He began to move around by using his arms. He has overcome many obstacles and has accomplished much. He just does things differently.”

Zachary’s graduation video, which currently has received over 52,000 views, is proof of that.

In the future, he would like to work in film production and will attend Delgado in the fall to work towards a degree in film.

However, Zachary may soon be seen in front of the camera again. He auditioned for an AMC series about the life of Johnny Eck, a man born in 1911 with half of a body.

To Zachary, and each graduate who forms the Class of 2016, Congratulations!

I pray that the future holds many new joys and accomplishments and be a continuation of all of the good things you have already achieved. May your dreams always be greater than your memories.

Ronny Michel may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.