Community rallies behind Caleb Maler’s special graduation ceremony

Grants Pass, Ore. — Nearly 500 people roared to life with cheers and a standing ovation when Grants Pass High School senior Caleb Maler walked to grab his diploma.

“I’m strong, smart, and faster than the universe,” announced Caleb Maler, who lives with autism.

His parents agreed to hold a separate graduation ceremony for him because the school was worried the traditional ceremony would prove over-stimulating and may cause an outburst.

After asking the community for support, Caleb’s father, Nelson Maler, says he couldn’t have asked for a better turnout.

“It was great. It was perfect.”

Maler says getting Caleb through high school has been a lot of hard work throughout the years, but that’s what makes the accomplishment so special.

“This morning when he came downstairs to get his breakfast, he was already wearing his suit at 7:30 in the morning. So he’s been ready all day for this event.”

Maler says the overwhelming support from the community reaffirms why he loves Grants Pass so much.

“This is a wonderful place to raise a family, to live, and to work”

And he thinks Caleb’s memory of this milestone will always be a happy one.

“Did you notice the smile on his face? It was absolutely incredible. I think it went from ear to ear and it’s not coming off for a week “

NBC5 News Multimedia Journalist Elizabeth Ruiz was raised in Northern Colorado. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Journalism and Media Communication. She also minored in Spanish and studied in Spain. While at Colorado State, she was an anchor and reporter for CTV Channel 11.

Elizabeth loves Zumba dancing, singing and spending time with her family.

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