TAMPA, Fla. — Justin Scott has a catchphrase: "It's okay not to be okay."
The Wharton High School senior knows both sides of that refrain. As a toddler, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Some doctors said he'd never walk or talk; others said he'd never live past two.
"Every day, I prove them wrong," said the 18-year-old.
That's where the "okay" part comes into play.
By being defiant, courageous, funny and upbeat, Scott has become an inspirational star on the Tampa school's campus.
He was the Prom King and the soccer-playing star on Senior Night. He gets shout-outs from every other kid walking the halls. They recognize and draw strength from someone who has never given up.
Scott is also a star on TikTok. He's gathered more than 30,000 followers by being a force of positivity and light, offering daily affirmations for all of us.
A recent post? "The sky tells us that there is no limit to our dreams and goals."
His mom Michelle Smith said his sheer force of will showed itself not long after he was out of diapers.
"He is the light of my life, a joy to be around, and the most inspiring kid you'd ever want to meet."
Along the way, he's earned a host of accolades from the Tampa Bay community, including the Anne Frank Humanitarian Award from the Florida Holocaust Museum and the Jan Henrick Achievement Award.
Wharton ESE specialist Georgie Collins gets emotional when she thinks about saying goodbye to her friend. But she also knows the sky's the limit for this young man.
"He's going to do great things, and now the world gets to see it."