CD East grads Facetime for hospitalized classmate

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HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — The Central Dauphin East Class of 2016 graduated on Monday evening before a large crowd at Giant Center. Hundreds of students walked the aisles, grasping their diplomas. Reilly Johnson watched it all from his hospital bed in Delaware.

The Harrisburg teen suffers from spinal muscular dystrophy and was unable to be in Hershey for the commencement. In an emotional show of friendship, classmates carried an iPad using the Facetime app to broadcast the ceremony live to Reilly and his family. The crowd of several thousand students, families and friends cheered loudly as a picture of the iPad with Reilly’s face on it appeared on the Giant Center video screen above the arena.

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As a young child, Johnson was an inspirational figure during many years of local broadcasts of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. A talented singer, his performances were a highlight of the broadcasts, drawing both smiles and tears from the studio audience and helping to raise monetary pledges from viewers.

Central Dauphin East administrators indicated that Johnson graduated in the top 10 percent of his class.

See our previous coverage of this story here.

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