ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV/Gray Media) — It was a chilly morning, but that didn’t stop Michele Sheffer’s kindergarten class at McGaheysville Elementary from putting on their jackets and walking to their classmate’s house.
But it wasn’t just any trip, they were visiting a school friend who had been out of school for nearly two months.
Jake Guinn said his son, Luke, fell ill while the family was on a trip to Nags Head, N.C.
"Back in September, Luke had a stroke — he's only five years old, so something like this to happen is exceedingly rare," Guinn said. "But he did have a stroke that has taken him out of school for some time."
Luke returned home at the end of October after more than 40 days in the hospital.
Now that Luke was back, his class wanted to do something special for him.
Luke's parents and Sheffer worked together to set up a field trip where his classmates could walk to his home near the school and show how much they appreciate him.
"He loves reading about animals and the ocean, so the children made him cards and we each took him one of his favorite books," Sheffer said.
When Luke’s classmates arrived on Friday, they welcomed Luke with a song that made him smile.
“To see his class, you know, brave the chilly weather today to come out and see him, it really means a lot, it shows us,” his dad said. “That shows us he has the support that is necessary to improve and do better.”
Luke’s parents said they’re hopeful he can return to his class by January, but his classmates are already planning for his return.
"We're very excited for him to come back to class," Sheffer said. "We're already planning for him to come to our Thanksgiving feast in two weeks, so that will be his first visit back to our school."
Before his classmates headed back to school, Luke had one thing he wanted to say: "I think my classmates love me."
Sheffer said Luke's class and teachers will be honoring him for the rest of the school year by wearing their #LukeStrong T-shirts that were provided by the school's PTA.
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