Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Graduations is always a time of excitement and pride for families and friends, but the journey for one Irmo High School student has set an example for others.
Terence Morris is member of the school's Air Force Junior ROTC, and a special needs student with ADHD.
"Since I joined ROTC my confidence has changed," said Morris. "I wanted to see what it's like to wear the uniform."
To be the guy who's never met a stranger and always has a smile on his face, you wouldn't think to call him shy, but joining the Irmo High School Air Force Jr. ROTC made that characteristic make an about face.
"At first I was shy, and chief and colonel and my friends helped me overcome my shyness and that's when I started building more confidence," he said.
The 19-year-old special needs student is a few years behind others his age. His mother Sirea Morris says they first noticed his learning disability when he began elementary school.
But that hasn't stopped Terence from rising to the top. He's earned the Military Order of the Purple Heart Leadership Award, the Tuskeegee Airmen Certificate of Achievement and was named king of the military ball.
Terence says his classmates and teachers have helped him grow, but they say the same thing about him.
"It's brought out the best in us, and made us realize we're all put on this earth for a special reason and Terence is here for a special reason because he brings out the best in us," said Chief Steven Turner, one of the ROTC instructors.
"He's that type of cadet, he's always there for everything he does a lot of events and he's the type of cadet we can all depend on when we need someone," said Irmo High School junior Rasheena Christian.
In fact Terence hasn't missed one uniform wear in his four years with the program, something Col. Jay Seward calls unheard of, and likely something that contributed to him earning the Cadet of the year award as a senior.
"He is the ideal cadet that any Jr. ROTC instructor, or in fact, any military officer would love to in his or her ranks," said Seward.
Terence, a big Gamecock fan, has participated as the ROTC presented colors at USC basketball and football games and when he looks back on his time there's only one he can describe the experience.
"Job well done," he said.
Terence and the other Irmo High School seniors will graduate Wednesday. After school, Terence plans to get a job and begin working.