Carter Hunt, a recent graduate of Old Rochester Regional High School, has a story that not only inspires but makes so many proud.

He was diagnosed at age 3 with mild autism spectrum disorder but he never let that slow him down or discourage him.

Never was that more on display than in the week before graduation, when he took to the microphone for a special performance in front of all of his classmates.

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His mother, Dr. Tonja Hunt, could talk for days about how proud she is of her son, who has the support of a loving family and the community.

At Old Rochester Regional's Senior Assembly this year, a talent show of sorts in the lead-up to graduation, Carter flawlessly and confidently sang "What A Wonderful World," then received a standing ovation.

Just watch the video of his performance and it will give you chills.

While he may look and sound like a natural, Carter generally needs time to express himself.

Sensory processing is also a factor. In Carter's case, he is sensitive to louder noises -- take a cheering crowd, for instance -- which, as you can see, he overcame following his song.

Jeanne O’Brien
Jeanne O’Brien

The whole family was beaming at the Class of 2022 graduation ceremony. Carter was joined by his father (also named Carter), twin sister Isabella, mother and younger brother Dylan.

Carter, who graduated with high honors and plans to study computer science at Bristol Community College, is a reminder that people can overcome anything and even pull ahead of the pack.

His mother has a doctorate in physical therapy and works with children with a wide variety of diagnoses and abilities, including her own son. She says she hopes to help other parents who need support.

"My continued dream is for autism awareness and education in the schools so that everyone, including staff and students, is able to better communicate with individuals with autism," she said.

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