Friday, Dec. 14, started off as a normal school day for senior Jonathan Elliston. He went to school and afterwards, he went to go shopping with his family, unaware of the upcoming news coming his way. Later he got a text from the Head Wheelchair Basketball Coach at the University of Illinois, Matt Buchi, asking if he had checked on his application status yet. Little did Elliston know that he would soon get life-changing news.

“I forgot that the results were coming out that day, so when he texted me, I was anxious to see … if I had gotten in or not,” Elliston said. “I had a good feeling I had gotten in, but I wasn’t sure.”

After he arrived home, he logged into his laptop to see the message of his acceptance shone across the screen: ‘Congratulations you’re now a member of the University of Illinois. You’ve been accepted.’

The news at first came as a shock to Elliston and his parents, turning into overwhelming happiness and joy as the days went on. Elliston has been in a wheelchair since he was five years old due to a bone disease.

“All of that hard work from elementary school, middle school, high school actually physically paid off; now I’m going to college,” Elliston said. “It was a really good feeling.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 19, Principal Michelle Somerhalder and counselor, Barbara Wilks, got an email from Lisa Elliston, Jonathan’s mother, stating that her son will be attending the University of Illinois.

Two months after his acceptance, Elliston officially signed the letter of intent declaring that he is now a member of the men’s wheelchair basketball team at the University of Illinois.

“I was so excited. I’ve had the pleasure of watching him play before, and he’s just an amazing student and athlete and a great all around young man,” Wilkes said. “I was really excited to see that he got a scholarship.”

Elliston now looks forward his future in college, already worrying about how to wake up early to get to his morning practices and get used to his classes. 

“Hopefully I’ll be able to get used to it and it’ll be fun,” Elliston said.

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