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Back in January, a then 17-year-old Derrick Perry (pictured) was enjoying himself at a house party on Detroit’s westside when he took a gunshot to the head that almost took his life, Fox News 2 Detroit reports.

“It’s horrible. I don’t like it,” Perry said. “I don’t think it should have happened to me.”

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He was rushed to a local hospital where he underwent a six hour surgery and rehabbed at a hospital for five months. This series of events would have devastated most young men to the point of defeat. But not Perry. He gets around in a wheelchair but is very much determined to walk on his own again.

And he did not allow his injuries to keep him from graduating from high school on time. He was even named prom king at his high school prom.

“He actually was able to take his test for graduation so that he could go across that stage,” Perry’s mother told Fox 2 Detroit. “It wasn’t given to him. He earned it.”

He also has acceptance letter to a local college where he plans to study physical therapy.

On Friday, a group of his closest friends and family threw a party for him to celebrate his 18th birthday and graduation from high school. But his party celebrates much more than that. It is the celebration of how a human being’s determination can turn a personal tragedy into national inspiration.

Watch his phenomenal story below.

WATCH Derrick Perry Discuss His Miraculous Journey To Recovery–And College!

Detroit Teen Shot In The Head Miraculously Finishes HS, Prepares For College 7 Months Later!  was originally published on