Even last week, it was iffy whether Shayne Schultze, 19, would eke out enough credits to graduate Friday night with the Woodland Park High School class of 2021.
On Thursday, he got his own mini commencement ceremony in the halls of UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central.
“He had to do a lot of things to finish this year, and he worked really hard this semester,” said school counselor Chad Cosner. “He’s one of those students all the teachers said, ‘All right, we got one across the line.’”
While celebrating the news that he indeed had attained his goal, Schultze and a friend lost control of the ATV they were riding last Friday night and wrecked.
Schultze was in bad shape and airlifted to Colorado Springs from the small Douglas County mountain development of Westcreek, according to information from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
During the past six days, Schultze has progressed from the trauma center to the intensive-care unit and now is being treated in a room on the orthopedic spine-injury wing
With five weeks to go until doctors remove the wires holding his severely broken jaw closed, Schultze let his tears do the talking Thursday.
Seeing Principal Kevin Burr and Cosner waiting at the end of the long hallway lined with about 80 hospital staff cheering him on, Schultze struggled to rise from a wheelchair.
He can’t stand for very long because he fractured seven of 12 spinal vertebrae and had surgery to insert 14 screws and two rods, according to his family.
Schultze, nonetheless, in his cap and gown, walked the last few steps as if crossing a stage and accepted his diploma cover from Burr and Cosner, who wore traditional ceremonial robes.
“Go Panthers!” Schultze managed to say, with the large crowd of office personnel, floor nurses, managers, patient-care techs, upper administrators, physicians and assistants holding signs, waving green pompoms and yelling their congratulations.
Schultze, whose attention deficit disorder has caused learning challenges, has attended Woodland Park schools his entire academic career, said his mom, Annette Wilson.
“He accomplished something he’s been working for, for so long,” she said. “It’s amazing to see him at this final step.”
Schultze is a gifted artist who loves playing video games, hanging out with his friends and is known for his big heart, his mom said.
“Our hearts are full for him,” said his principal. “We understand he’s got a long road to go, and if this lifts his spirits for even a little bit, we're happy.”
A hospital team came up with the idea of the special graduation, said Registered Nurse Vickie Broerman, a trauma navigator and one of the leaders of the effort.
“Pomp and Circumstance,” also known as the “Graduation March,” played on her cell phone as Schultze was wheeled down the hallway and onlookers clapped to the beat.
“It’s an honor and privilege to acknowledge and be involved in something that’s a milestone in someone’s life,” Broerman said. “It makes all of us feel great — you can see and hear the enthusiasm.”