When Scott Dunn woke up from a coma on May 28, his first thought was, "I missed my graduation."
The McAlisterville, Pennsylvania high school senior fell into a coma after a car crash May 22 — just days before his high school graduation. Dunn's peers received their diplomas while he was airlifted to the hospital and admitted for several days.
After hearing of Dunn's misfortune, East Juniata High School's principal Benjamin Fausey knew he had to do something.
"You only get one high school graduation," Fausey told Revelist. So, he made sure Dunn got to experience it.
Fausey rallied students, staff and family for a second graduation ceremony — with only one graduate.
Though the senior class had started its summer break, Fausey convinced over half of them to return to school for a June 14 make-up ceremony. He also sent an email to staff, letting them know of the celebration. The kids, of course, were contacted on Facebook.
"If I was a parent and something like this happened to one of my children, I would hope that the school would do something like this for them," Fausey told Revelist.
The school staged a ceremony almost identical to the original.
Dunn's classmates filed into the auditorium, leaving space in the front row for his mother and father. Scars traversing his face, Dunn took his diploma and shook hands with his principal. Fausey even gave a speech, just as he had a few weeks before.
"At the first ceremony, I spoke to you about perseverance," Fausey said in his speech to the graduates. "It's because of his perseverance that Scotty is with us here today."
After the ceremony, the graduates gathered on the field to toss their caps in the air a second time around.
"I don't even know how to explain it," Dunn local affiliate ABC27 about the experience. "I'm speechless, to know that there are this many people behind me."
"He survived when he wasn't supposed to, a couple times now," his mom added. "So, it's a victory. It's a new chapter in his life and it's a fresh beginning."