Emotional footage shows NY high school graduates give autistic student a 'silent standing ovation' as he is extremely sensitive to noise
An autistic high school student was given a silent standing ovation from his peers at their graduation ceremony as he suffered from extreme sensitivity to noise.
The students from New York's Carmel High School were widely praised for the love they showed to their classmate Jack Higgins after a video capturing the emotional moment went viral online, Daily Mail reports.
Higgins can be seen in the clip, filmed on June 20, receiving loud cheers from the audience as he blocked his ears with his fingers while walking up to the stage.
His respectful peers soon recognized his predicament and proceeded to stand in silence for their beloved schoolmate.
Carmel High's Principal Lou Riolo can be heard requesting the auditorium to hold their applause before Higgins is presented with his diploma. "I would like everyone to not clap and not cheer," he asserts in the clip.
Riolo's students not only followed his request but did him one better by standing up in silence for the specially abled student.
Higgins was then escorted by his brothers to the stage in a heartwarming scene as members of the 2019 graduating class paid their respects in silence.
"The students were amazing," Riolo later told CNN. "They are a class act and superseded expectations. For example, them rising to their feet after Jack received his diploma was them. It was not preplanned and no one told them to act like that. They felt compelled to show their support in that way. They made that amazing compassionate gesture on their own."
He added: "You often have to give people the opportunity to rise to an occasion. I truly believe people have a kind, compassionate soul and they want to help and this was one of those occasions."
The video, which is making waves on YouTube, garnered praise from several delighted viewers.
"As the parent of an autistic child, this makes me cry," one wrote. "Such a great group of kids. Congratulations to the class of 2019."
While another gushed: "I kept telling myself that I wasn't going to cry... but when his class stood... the flood gates opened. Congrats Jack and Carmel High Class of 2019. This is the America that I know and love."