Austin High School debuts new wheelchair accessibility

Governor-elect Greg Abbott joined Austin High School senior Archer Hadley to debut new wheelchair access at the school.

Hadley, who has cerebral palsy, started the "Mr. Maroo Wheelchair Challenge" in October to raise $40,000 for automatic push-button doors on campus. He wound up raising more than double that.

Students, teachers, and parents were encouraged to pay $20 to challenge each other to spend a day in a wheelchair.

Hadley said, "I feel completely blessed to have this amount of support and I feel so lucky."

Barbara Hadley, Archer's mom, said, "The main goal here though, the wheelchair challenge, was to not only have students and teachers have fun in the chair, but also be an eye opening experience, and an experience where they become aware of what it must be like to be a person who has a special need."

Abbott called Hadley an inspiration to his fellow students and the rest of the state.

Austin High School didn't have any electric door openers because it was built before the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Abbott has used a wheelchair since 1984 after being paralyzed in a jogging accident. He is the first elected governor in the U.S. to be in a wheelchair since 1982. He made the story of his accident and recovery a cornerstone of his campaign during his run for governor.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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