Author Lewis Carroll said, “In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” For S-C senior Michala Pulliam, those are words to live by for her senior year.
Michala was born with a condition called cerebral palsy, a congenital disorder of movement, muscle tone, or posture; because of it, she has used a wheelchair most of her life. Throughout her high school career, Michala has had 12 surgical procedures and three rounds of Botox done.
She is considering a procedure called the Balcofen Pump, which is a muscle relaxer for spinal cord injuries, and will undergo a trial for it soon.
“I’ve always wanted so much more, like going to football games and being in more clubs, but I was always recovering from surgeries or spending hours in physical therapy,” Michala said. “I’ve always been too scared to get out there and do things because of what people would think about me and my chair.”
This year, Michala has decided to live out her senior year and make the best of it.
“At the beginning of the year I realized this was my last chance to do all these things, like go to prom and sporting games, so I decided to put aside all the medical stuff and just do all the things I wasn’t able to do in the last years,” Michala said.
Her case manager, Eleanor Ballenger, helps ensure Michala is able to access the same opportunities and education as her peers.
“I’m excited for Michala to make lots of amazing memories and participate in all the fun activities that are part of her senior year, as well as gain the skills and abilities she will need to be successful in her future endeavors.” Ballenger said.
For Michala, the Senior Night football game was one of the best moments this year.
“I got to sit in the student section, which is something I’ve never done before,” Michala said. “Taylor King carried me to the front row, it was so much fun!”
King, a senior, believes Michala making the best of her senior year is great.
“I think this moment meant a lot to her because she hasn’t been able to have that front row experience or been able to sit in the student section with her friends like the rest of us have,” King said. “I am glad that she felt comfortable enough to ask me to help her with making the best of her senior year.”
After graduating high school Michala plans to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago and get a bachelor’s degree to teach English.
“Don’t be scared to do what you want,” she said. “Because you don’t want to look back on it and regret not doing it.”
Haily Zaremba is a student at Smith-Cotton High School.