No One Cheered For This Student As He Received His Diploma - And It Was Beautiful

July 15, 2019

Jack Higgins approached the stage to receive his high school diploma with his hands over his ears to block what he thought would be applause and cheers.

Instead, he was met by silence.

silent graduation student autism

Jack, 21, has severe autism, and his family worried that he'd struggle at a loud, crowded event. But, the Higgins dreamed of seeing their son walk across the stage and receive his high school diploma.

"He has a lot of sensory issues, noise being one of them," Barbara Higgins said.

Prior to the ceremony, Barbara met with Carmel High School principal, Lou Riolo, and shared her concerns.

Riolo had an idea: have everyone sit in silence as Higgins walked across the stage.

Students can often be unpredictable, so getting everyone to agree to this would not be an easy task.

Before calling Jack to the stage, Riolo asked everyone in attendance to remain silent and offer only a soft golf clap.


Jack walked across the stage to a silent standing ovation.

"The students were amazing. They are a class act and superseded expectations," Riolo told CNN.

"I truly believe people have a kind, compassionate soul and they want to help and this was one of those occasions."

Watch the video below.

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