High school graduation is one of the most important milestones in a teenager’s life, but Austin Coppola was ready to give it all up for his twin brother, Ty.
As the Huffington Post reports, the 17-year-old graduating senior refused to walk at his commencement from Fairport High School in New York unless his brother (who has Down syndrome and did not attend the school) could receive his diploma with him.
“He’s been with me throughout every memorable moment I can think of,” Austin, who was born at the exact same time as Ty, says in the video below. In other words, since they’ve always stuck together, Austin didn’t want to leave his brother behind.
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The twins’ mom, Cheryl, recalled the touching moment when Austin insisted that Ty also deserved to don a cap and gown. “‘Mom, Ty has worked harder than me, he’s endured more challenges,'” she shared with WHAM-TV. “‘Yeah, I’ve earned it, I worked hard for my degree, but he’s worked hard in a different way.'”
The proud mom, who always wished to see her sons graduate, decided to make the arrangements, WHAM-TV reports. Fairport High School was happy to add Ty’s name to the list for the big day. And when Cheryl called Josten’s for Ty’s cap and gown, they were so touched by the brothers’ story that the company decided to donate the traditional graduation clothing free of charge.
On the day of the ceremony, the brothers indeed walked down the big stage together. The crowd went wild with applause and also gave them a standing ovation.
Austin tweeted, “That standing ovation for Ty brought me to tears. The FHS class ’14 will always hold a place in my heart. I hope to see all of you again !!”
The selfless young man will attend Nazareth College in Rochester, New York — just minutes from his home — to study physical therapy so he can help others with disabilities.
— Patrice Walsh (@PatriceWalsh13) June 27, 2014