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Meet Sean Andrade -- 15-year-old salutatorian of his high school class who has cerebral palsy and autism

LI teen with cerebral palsy, autism graduating salutatorian at age 15
LI teen with cerebral palsy, autism graduating salutatorian at age 15 02:48

FLORAL PARK, N.Y. -- He was a toddler when his parents discovered their son was special. He was solving math problems at age 2, and eventually skipping grades.

The now-15-year-old told CBS2 on Thursday that his cerebral palsy and autism are gifts.

He is graduating salutatorian of his class.

Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park is abuzz.

"Since I'm younger and since I'm disabled, I think I can prove to a lot of people that you can do some crazy things," Sean Andrade said.

Like jumping grades ... twice ... and becoming class salutatorian at age 15.

"I have cerebral palsy. Standing is harder than walking," Andrade said.

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He was born prematurely, but before he was 2 years old he was counting to 10. Soon, Andrade was teaching his teachers, "the 100 digits of pi that I currently know."

"I got older and I started to look into what autism is and how it affects my life," he added.

Pervasive Development Disorder allows him to hyper focus on one subject.

His mentors collaborated.

"I don't think I'll ever see another student like Sean," one said.

"He's one of those students you meet once in a career," another said.

"We've never seen it before. I would doubt in my career I would ever see it again," one said.

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For the rest of the school year, Andrade will enjoy typical senior traditions, like prom, banquet, and, as class salutatorian, he will give the graduation speech.

"Giving the speech is definitely going to be exciting. I want to make it short but also inspiring," Andrade said.

He's that already.

"Robotics is my passion project," he said.

He has been winning state tournaments, and, oh yeah, tutoring on the side.

"It's amazing to see transferring a love of math to someone else, so I think teaching on the college level might be good," Andrade said.

Before all that, being a 15-year-old in a college looms.

"I just can't drive. That's all," Andrade said.

He credits his parents and teachers for motivation and love, dispelling the myth of disability.

"I was dealt a relatively good hand. It could have been a lot worse, and I am so grateful for that," Andrade said.

He said his classmates have always accepted him as a peer, and he has been offered presidential scholarships to Stony Brook University and Hofstra University. 

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