COON RAPIDS, Minn. - It wasn't your typical homecoming pep fest at Coon Rapids High School on Friday. In fact, it was one no one will forget.
"This is the biggest day of my life," said Dakota Forness, a senior at Coon Rapids. "I've been planning this since last year."
The cerebral palsy Dakota was born with keeps him in a wheel chair, but that wasn't going to stop him from fully taking part in this year's Homecoming festivities.
"People have asked me all throughout my high school career if I could stand or walk," he said. "I think they'll get their answer today."
As the final participant in the pep fest, Forness gave a speech to the entire student body about what it means to truly be victorious.
"It doesn't matter if you play sports or not. It's about setting goals in your life," he told the crowd. "When you're a Cardinal you don't stand alone."
And with that, Dakota stood up. With help on either side and with weeks of practice behind him, he walked to the center of the court.
The gym erupted. Never before had his classmates seen him stand, let alone, walk.
"I never thought it would get this big," said Forness. "I haven't been able to stand for the school song, until today."
It was a goal accomplished and a testament to an entire student body.
"It was amazing," he said. "You have to try and succeed at things. If I fail, I know this family has my back."
Dakota will lead also the Coon Rapids football team on to the field for Friday night's game.
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