When more than 300 Oxford High School students walked across the stage at the DTE Energy Music Theatre to receive their diplomas on May 26, one student was missing.
OHS senior Fisher Stuk couldn’t make it.
That’s because, just 30 minutes before the ceremony, he was rushed into surgery after suffering a collapsed lung.
But the school district made sure all his years of hard work didn’t go unnoticed. On Saturday, Superindent Tim Throne came to Stuk’s graduation party at his home on First St. in the village to personally hand him his high school diploma.
Jill Powers, Stuk’s mother, said the initial phone call she received from Throne was a pleasant surprise.
“I was really impressed that Tim took the time to reach out to us. I wasn’t shocked that he personally did it because he’s a really nice, genuine person … but to the point that he was willing to just put in the effort to reach out and go the extra mile . . . it meant a lot,” she said.
Throne was more than happy to do this for Stuk and his family.
“I felt for him that he couldn’t participate with his class (in the commencement ceremony),” he said.
Throne hopes the personal diploma presentation provided Stuk with “a little extra feeling of accomplishment” and a sense of completion as he closes the book on his high school years.
“I wish the best for him going forward,” he said.
Surrounded by family and friends, 13 years of hard work and studying finally paid off for the graduating senior who had been through so much before he was handed his diploma.
Stuk has suffered a collapsed lung twice before this third incident, which led to his surgery on graduation day.
Two weeks previously, Stuk suffered the same condition, but was told surgery would not be necessary.
Then, two days before graduation, Stuk said the pain returned with a vengeance.
“It was just too much pain to bear,” he said.
The morning before graduation, Stuk made another trip to the doctor and had several x-rays taken.
It was then doctors discovered his condition had worsened.
Stuk was whisked into a four hour-long surgery just 30 minutes before the graduation ceremony. He was released five days later.
The surgery went well and Stuk said his doctors are confident the worst is behind him.
“The doctors said they’ve never had someone come back after surgery with another collapsed lung, so I’m supposed to be fine forever now,” he said,
Though Stuk is disappointed he missed the “official” ceremony, he said he is happy to be in better health and was surprised to hear about Throne’s phone call.
“It felt pretty good to know that the school cares enough about individual students to come and present their diplomas personally if they can’t make it because of something,” he said. “It felt like the school was doing something really nice.”
With his diploma finally in-hand and a bright future ahead of him, Stuk will be attending Central Michigan University to major in biology.
He plans to eventually engage in field work and research.