Students at the Chewelah middle school returned from Christmas break to find their principal, wasn't there greeting them in the morning anymore. Jon Symonds was injured in a serious snowmobiling accident.
Today the school received a distinction award, meaning it's in the top five percent of schools for improving in the state. While the award is an honor, the middle school just wants their principal back.
As the faculty of Jenkins Middle School accepted a distinguished award Tuesday, there was an absence of a daily reward.
Two weeks ago, their principal Jon Symonds was in a serious snowmobiling accident on Christmas day. It left him paralyzed from the waste down.
So instead of going back to school after the ceremony to share the award with the students right away, they stopped by St. Luke's Rehabilitation Center to present the award to the man responsible for it.
"It's very humbling. It means a lot," Symonds said of the surprise visit.
The accident is still fresh in his mind as he held back tears talking with us.
"It's been tough not to be able to get up in the morning and go to work and see those people."
Symonds continues to improve just two weeks after losing movement in his legs. He hopes to be back to school by the end of February.
Before they faculty and staff left, they opened a box full of paper for Symonds. It was, perhaps, the most important paper of the day.
It turns out the students at Jenkins wrote well wishes onto small pieces of paper for Symonds. The paper chain now decorates his room at St. Luke's.
The school is setting up a fund to help the Symonds pay for Jon's recovery. If you'd like to help, you can contact the school district at 509-685-6800.