Students then stood quietly as Higgins left the stage, some doing a silent "golf clap," the newspaper reported.
"I've done this for a long time," Riolo told The Examiner. "I've never seen anything more amazing than this."
Higgins' parents were moved by the gesture from Carmel High School's Class of 2019.
"We were unbelievably moved," Pat Higgins told The Examiner. "I know myself and my wife were kind of crying leaving the graduation."
“I just didn’t expect it to be like that,” Barbara Higgins told the newspaper. “No one made a sound, you could’ve heard a pin drop."
Jack Higgins will now attend Ability Beyond in Chappaqua, a program for people with disabilities, WCBS reported.
Graduation day, however, will be something the Higgins family -- and Carmel's students -- will remember for a long time.
"What ended up happening was a miracle. It was a miracle because of everybody in that auditorium. They all took it upon themselves to make a difference," Riolo told The Examiner. "We shot for the moon and we hit the stars and that doesn't always happen with a lot of things in life."