Teen recovers and is able to walk on graduation day

SHINGLE SPRINGS - A high school graduation is a dream come true for many families, but it's especially powerful for one Shingle Springs family.

Zachary Pickett managed to walk again Friday night after being paralyzed from the waist down for the past 22 months.

The teen broke his neck after diving into Cameron Park Lake and hitting a sandbar he couldn't see. It happened in August 2012, at the end of his shift as a lifeguard. Things changed that summer for Pickett -- he was a star water polo player and class president looking forward to starting his junior year at Ponderosa High School.

PREVIOUS STORY: No sorrow for paralyzed teen; only hope, help

Pickett has been working with doctors and therapists ever since.

"We're all nervous," Pickett's father Tod Pickett said.

As friends and family watched Friday night, Zachary Pickett walked across the stage with the help of a cane. That extraordinary feat was the reason for a standing ovation from his peers and teachers.

"He's had a goal. He's worked with therapist to reach a goal," Tod Pickett said.

"Zach's an inspiration for everybody," Zachary Pickett's former coach Alan Miller said. "I'm astounded Zach and the water polo team all graduated together. All seniors."

"This is not about Zac. This is about his water polo team, his coaches, friends, and his community," Tod Pickett said. "That's what this is all about."

Zachary Pickett and his family so grateful for all the support that has made a recovery possible.

"It's very nice to have that done and show that I've come so far thanks to everyone here," Zachary Pickett said.


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