BROOKLYN, New York City (WABC) — In a sea of graduates, there’s one who is easy to overlook…if only for her stature.
But Nekhidia Harris is a force, and on Wednesday, she graduated Medgar Evers College with honors and took a beautiful walk across the stage at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“I was like, oh my gosh, this is really, really happening,” she said. “Oh my gosh, I thank God every day.”
And so do her parents. When Harris was born, doctors gave her just three days to live. Now, she’ll turn 25 in October, and she has a college degree.
“I feel so excellent,” she said. “After the hard work, and sleepless nights sometimes, all-nighters, it feels really good that I accomplished my Bachelor’s (degree) in social work.”
Harris was born with many issues, including brittle bones, and she’s undergone numerous surgeries and had dozens of fractures. But nothing breaks her spirit.
“She lights up a room,” mom Dasline Harris said. “No matter what darkness is in the room, she lights up that room.”
She’s about the size of a toddler, but her impact is so much larger.
“No one has shunned her,” dad Michael Harris said. “Nobody treats her differently, because they see her as tall as they are.”
And that may be because of a bit of advice imparted by her father.
“Use my brain as my height, and I’ve stuck with that,” she said. “And I surely have used my brain as my height.”
Harris already has a non-profit that she uses to motivate others with disabilities. But her energy alone can do just that.
“I like to help people, and especially children,” she said. “I also have a voice, and I love children. They gravitate to me, so I want to help them in every way I can.”
Next up for her is a Masters program at York College.