Wheelchair-bound college student surprises parents on graduation day

Credit: Matthew Borkoski Photography

Credit: Matthew Borkoski Photography

A college student who was born with spina bifida shocked her parents by rising from her wheelchair at graduation and walking across the stage to claim her diploma.

>> Read more trending news

Gerene TeKippe has relied on a wheelchair to get around since the eighth grade. She surprised her parents on graduation day at St. Ambrose University in Iowa by walking to accept her degree.

>> RELATED: College student gets phone call she'll never forget at graduation ceremony

“I think I was just surprised the whole time,” said her mother, Sherri TeKippe. “(My husband) looked at me and said, ‘Did you know she was going to do that?’ and I said, ‘No, I didn’t know that.'”

Gerene TeKippe said her parents raised her to be headstrong.

"If you want to do something, you've got to figure out a way to get it done," she told WQAD.