Cushing ISD awards terminally ill student with diploma at special ceremony

Cushing ISD awards terminally ill student with diploma at special ceremony
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

CUSHING, TX (KTRE) - A Cushing boy, with only months left to live, received an honorary high school diploma earlier this morning.

"TJ's beat every odd that they ever threw at him," said Jo Ann Schulz, TJ's mother.

Those are odds no parent wants against their child. TJ is terminally ill.

"You're being told your son has a brain tumor and that to prepare yourself that he may not make it the next five minutes," Schulz said.

TJ has a tumor covering over half of the right side of his brain. Doctors are unable to operate and have given him only three to six months left to live.

It was heart-wrenching news that prompted administrators with Cushing ISD to step in.

"We wanted to take this day and celebrate life. We've encouraged our teachers, our students to just celebrate TJ's life and to celebrate all of our lives because we never know when it's our last day," said Stefani Jackson, the curriculum director for Cushing ISD.

Thus "TJ Haynes Day" was born, complete with cake, dancing, and his ultimate favorite … SpongeBob.

TJ likely won't be able to attend his own high school graduation, so today he got an honorary diploma too.

"They're only ours for a little while anyway, but they're always His. Do I find comfort in that? Yes! Why? My mother's there [in Heaven], both of grandmothers are there," Schulz said.

So for now, TJ will live each day as if it's his last, not in fear but celebration.

"Don't take anything for granted. Every day should be a new day. Love should be made fresh every morning, just like bread," Schulz said.

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