Paralyzed in a snowmobile accident a Chewelah middle school principal is working to get back into the classroom.
Jon Symonds is recovering at St. Lukes in Spokane. Friday evening he made a trip to West Valley High School to watch his exchange student play basketball and to see some of his students for the first time since his accident.
It's a game the Jenkins Middle School principal didn't want to miss. It was a chance to catch some action and catch-up with his own students.
"Getting better. Getting stronger," said Symonds. Who spoke with a group of students after the game.
For many this was the first time seeing their principle since he was paralyzed on Christmas Day.
"He's our principal and he knows all of us and he misses us and wants to be back to school as soon as possible," said seventh grader Brice Frederick.
He answered question about his new electric wheelchair and his blue brace he wears across his mid section.
"This just keeps me from doing anything I shouldn't do," said Symonds.
Of course many students wanted to know when Symonds would be back to school.
"It'll be in March and I'll just start slowly," said Symonds.
Huddling around him in the middle of the West Valley High School hallway, people took pictures.
"He's positive and encourages us in class," said student Zarren Nelson.
The students Symonds motivated daily now returning the favor with cards and letter. Something Symonds' wife hangs in his hospital room. The walls are now plastered with them as high as she can reach.
"I can't speak highly enough of that, that's just been awesome for me. It helps me get through it," said Symonds.
"He always just taught us to never give up and I know he's not going to give up," said student Gavin Parrot.
Symonds may never walk again but that won't keep him from smiling again.
"It makes me feel really good. It makes me very emotional," said Symonds about all the support he's been shown.
And he definitely won't give up. Not with so many standing in his corner.
"I'm fighting trying to fight every day to get there," said Symonds. "I just wanted to thank everyone for all their support and prayers, cards. I couldn't do it without them. I just want to thank them."
Symonds was out Friday on a day pass from his recreational therapist. He should be released on the 26th. Mondo's Italian Cafe in Chewelah will hold a fundraiser for Symonds this Sunday to help pay medical bills. All you have to do to help is show up and eat.