It's possible that no high school student has looked forward to returning to school as much as Jack Jablonski has.
Jablonski, now a junior at , sustained a serious spinal cord injury on Dec. 30, 2011, during a holiday hockey tournament. After the injury, Jablonski spent nearly four months in a hospital recovering. He hasn't attended class since Dec. 21, 2011—the last day before BSM started winter break last year.
That changes today, as Jablonski and his fellow Red Knights start a new school year.
The teenager got caught up with the schooling he missed over the summer, while also —something he'll continue after school. And BSM got ready for Jablonski's return by making sure the building is accessible and setting aside a parking spot just for him. Jablonski has been using a motorized wheelchair since his injury and is .
His mother, Leslie Jablonski, wrote about the highly anticipated return to BSM on Jack's CaringBridge page on Sunday:
Nervous. Excited. Anxious.
That pretty much sums up the Jablonski's state of mind right now as we make final preparations for Jack's return to school on Tuesday.
Think outside of the box. Our approach to back-to-school prep has been like no other. I know I've said this before, but we really do take so many things for granted, until we're in a situation like Jack's.
Most of us load up the kids' backpacks with new pens, pencils and notebooks when they head back to school. Oh how I used to love the smell of new pencils.
But it isn't that way for Jack. Instead, we've had numerous meetings with the brilliant tech ladies at Courage Center. They've guided us through the world of computer apps and all things electronic so that Jack can participate in class and do his homework. Yes Jack, you will do your homework. He wishes this would not be possible.
The Benilde-St. Margaret's administration and faculty have been incredibly supportive as well. They've taken time out of their busy schedules to meet with us and understand Jack's needs...everything from walking the halls to ensure accessibility to making plans for a buddy system at lunchtime; from syncing their technology with Jack's to understanding autonomic dysreflexia and how to handle an episode should there be one.
They even set aside a parking space for us with its own reserved sign. Totally thorough and thoughtful preparations on BSM's part. Yet another above-and-beyond effort of this very wonderful school.
And now we're done with summer tutoring (thank you JB and SS). Jack is now caught up, finished his sophomore year, and is returning as a junior.
His summer might not have been relaxing or fun, but he worked hard and it's paid off. He spent endless hours doing rehab at Courage Center, and he'll continue to do so every day after school.
At least Jack was able to take a few days off last week (very much deserved) and spent them tooling around the State Fair with his friends. Surprised that the combo of foods he ate didn't send him back to the ER for a stomach pump. So gross.
So, one more day to go and Jack will be back where he belongs...in the halls of BSM.
And that scores an A+ for this chapter of our journey.