A graduation for one at East Juniata High School


McALISTERVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Recent East Juniata High School graduates, who learned so much from their textbooks, helped illustrate a huge life lesson after leaving the halls.

It was just a few weeks ago that seniors met in their school’s auditorium for graduation. Tuesday night, they did it again.

You know the scene: students gathering in their gowns, their caps emblazoned with 2016 — the brink of adulthood.

“It wasn’t really a hard decision to make if I was going to come or not,” recent graduate Hannah Scholl said.

Tuesday was take two for East Juniata.

“As soon as they said they were having this graduation,” Clayton Willow said, “I was immediately going to come. Because it’s Scott. He’s my friend.”

The main ceremony happened three weeks ago.

“I was headed to a track meet,” Scott Dunn remembered. This was May 22, a few days before graduation.

“I remember losing control of the vehicle, counter steering, and then nothing,” Scott said.

Then more nothing. Days of it. Doctors kept Scott sedated.

“I remember waking up in the hospital and asking my mom what day it was. She told me it was the 28th,” he said. “First thing I said, I looked at her and said, ‘I missed my graduation’.”

“Couple days later, Mr. Fausey,” the school’s principal, Scott’s mom Karen said, “called us and said to us that everybody wanted to do something special for him.”

“There’s only one high school graduation that people get,” Benjamin Fausey said. “To me, this is the least that we can do.”

Tuesday, more than half of Dunn’s class (about 45 students) went back to school. During summer. After they graduated.

“It’s really nice to be able to celebrate him,” Ashlyn Guyer said.

The school went through the pomp and circumstance. Students donned their caps and gowns and sat in the front of the auditorium. Scott’s parents, Karen and Scott Sr., sat front and center. After brief speeches, Scott’s name was called. Only Scott’s name. He walked across the stage as the audience erupted.

A graduation for one.

“I’m speechless,” Scott said. “I don’t know how to even explain it. I’m speechless to know that this many people are behind me.”

The same traditions, the same ceremony as three weeks ago, for just one.

“I was never the greatest student in the world. I didn’t have the greatest grades,” Scott said. “When it would come to tests and stuff I’d always doubt myself and I didn’t think I’d do it.”

“But I made it,” he said with a smile.

“Yeah, you did,” his mom beamed beside him.

“He survived when he wasn’t supposed to, a couple times now,” Karen Dunn said. “So, it’s a victory. It’s a new chapter in his life and it’s a fresh beginning.”

Scott said he’s not really sure what comes next for him; maybe college, maybe the military, maybe work. Of course, his first goal is to finish getting better.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download the ABC27 News App and the ABC27 Weather App for your phone and tablet.

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