Hackensack teen who missed graduation gets diploma in hospital

HACKENSACK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A New Jersey teen who missed his graduation ceremony due to an elongated hospital stay got a special visit and his diploma Friday.

Hospitals are usually places for recuperation, but in Hackensack, it was a scene of pomp and circumstance.

Hackensack High School senior Jose Guallpa-Peralta badly broke his leg playing soccer for the school's team back about two weeks ago, and he has been recovering at Children's Hospital ever since.

"Unfortunately, Jose missed a very special event (Thursday), and we didn't want him to feel left out or like he missed anything," principal Jim Montesano said. "So we figured we'd bring the pomp and circumstance to him."

School officials were determined to give Guallpa-Peralta his big moment, setting up a graduation ceremony in his hospital room. The principal and other school officials presided, and Guallpa-Peralta even had a chance to put on his cap and gown.

"It's good for my family, for me," he said. "The principals come to visit me, and I said thank you."

His doctor said the prognosis is good.

"He should do well," Dr. Stephen Percy said. "He should be able to make a full recovery and ultimately get back to playing soccer."

Guallpa-Peralta is now officially a high school graduate, after one final lesson in compassion.
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