Hadrien Saperstein is a 2011 graduate and class salutatorian of Nevada Connections Academy (NCA). He is from Las Vegas, Nevada. At NCA, Hadrien was able to work diligently in the comfort of his own home and graduate at the top of his class. Learn more about his story below.
In 2008, a nationally ranked youth tennis player lost not to a court opponent, but to a mosquito and a rare virus. When Hadrien contracted transverse myelitis that paralyzed him from the waist down, he knew he was in for the fight of his life. A talented teen, he was determined to beat the odds on and off the court. “I was ready to work hard, but just needed a glimmer of hope,” said Hadrien. That came after three weeks when he got his big toe to move. His no-quit attitude carried him through hospitals and rehab, then onto the tennis court where he practiced first in a wheelchair, then with a walker, then canes, and finally on his own two feet.
As part of his journey back, he enrolled at Nevada Connections Academy. He attacked his studies as vigorously as his therapy. Hadrien states, “You have to learn how to compensate for things and just do what you have to do.” His determination has paid off. A local coach said, “He was given just a 10% chance of regaining mobility but today can beat most high school players in the state.” His parents and sister proudly watched him graduate from Nevada Connections Academy with the second highest grades in the class and give the Salutatorian speech. Along the way, his parents and peers have said they have watched Hadrien grow and develop into a kind-hearted adult.
I was ready to work hard, but just needed a glimmer of hope.