Ethan van Ekelenburg-Scharman could barely walk on his own last year, but today, he took his first steps into junior kindergarten.

Ethan arrived at Monsignor Michael O'Leary Catholic School in Bracebridge on Monday morning. Taking small, but meaningful steps, he walked down the hall and into class.

“I am extremely proud. I never knew I could feel what I feel right now,” says Tina van Ekelenburg.

It's been a long journey for Ethan.  He was born only 25 weeks into his mom's pregnancy, weighing just over one pound.

At 18 months, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and needed mobility devices to get around.

Earlier this year, Ethan underwent a life changing surgery in St. Louis, allowing him to walk.

“It's amazing to just witness that our dreams and his have come true,” van Ekelenburg.

Muskoka residents helped raised more than $127,000 for the surgery and the family's expenses.

“So much of the community has supported Ethan along his journey. It's particularly exciting for us all today,” says principal Laura Pokocky.

Ethan will head back to St. Louis in the new year for a checkup, but for now he's a full-time student in JK.