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Broken Arrow Student Defies Odds To Graduate High School

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Kyle Keck will graduate from Broken Arrow High School Thursday night. Kyle Keck will graduate from Broken Arrow High School Thursday night.
The back of Kyle's wheelchair. The back of Kyle's wheelchair.
A letter from one of Kyle's favorite race car drivers. A letter from one of Kyle's favorite race car drivers.
Some of Kyle's race car memorabilia. Some of Kyle's race car memorabilia.

Emily Baucum, News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -- Thousands of Green Country high school seniors will be across the stage at graduation this month.  It's a big accomplishment, but it means even more to one Broken Arrow student who was told time and time again he'd never wear that cap and gown.

From the outside, it looks like Kyle Keck's world is his wheelchair.

"I'm 100 percent dependent on other people," Kyle said.

Kyle was born with cerebral palsy. He has no control over his body from the neck, down. Teachers told him he'd never make it through high school.

"I have to have somebody scribe my answers. Write all my answers down. I have to have assistance going to the restroom," he said.

But Kyle's world isn't his wheelchair, it's what's on his chair and on the walls and all over the house.

"I actually love drag racing," he said. "There's nothing better than him doing a burnout and the ground just shaking."

Kyle's been lucky enough to meet his racing heroes.

"When I'm at the track it's like I don't even have a disability. It's like hanging out with the guys," he said.

"It's been such a motivation for Kyle. They just do so much for him and push him," Russell Keck, Kyle's father, said.

Kyle even has letter from one of his favorite drivers, T.J. Zizzo, congratulating him for getting straight A's this year.

"I was actually offered a scholarship to NEO A&M which is where my dad went to school," he said.

Kyle's postponing college, but that won't stop Russell from seeing his son walk the stage at graduation.

"Well I'll actually drive technically," Kyle said.

That's more like it. Driving, just like his heroes, toward the finish line.

"Just the things he's accomplished in his situation. It's just, if you think you're having a bad day, just look at him," Russell Keck said.

In his cap and gown, a role model for his classmates, father, even race car drivers.

"Bottom line is, if something's hard, don't give up," Kyle said. "Do not give up. That is my motto. That has always been my motto. Don't give up."

T.J. Zizzo surprised Kyle at Thursday night's graduation.  He drove 11 hours from Chicago to ORU's Mabee Center to be there for the ceremony.

"He travels to Dallas, to Houston, he's coming to Indy to see us race this is the least I could do," Zizzo said. "Absolutely the least I could do. I love being here for him. Can't wait to go to Red Lobster. We're gonna have a feast, man. Lobsterfest!"

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