Students help hospitalized classmate feel included after he misses exciting field trip

Credit: Scott Olson

Credit: Scott Olson

A group of students went above and beyond to help a sick classmate feel included, even when he couldn't make it to a highly anticipated field trip.

Sixth-graders at First Immanuel Lutheran Church in Milwaukee look forward every year to a field trip to Chicago.

Phinehas Wiley was also looking forward to going, but he’s missed more than a month of school this year after doctors diagnosed him with Crohn’s disease. As his classmates prepared to go on the trip, Phinehas was still hospitalized and couldn’t attend.

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"I've sort of gotten used to not going to school," Phinehas told WITI.

So Phinehas’ classmates and teachers came up with a plan.

“We didn’t want him to feel left out, so we brought him along in a different way,” said Mark Schaefer.

Phinehas’ friends took a laminated photo of Phinehas, stuck it on a stick and brought it along on the trip. They took photos of the paper version of Phinehas in Chicago with his classmates.

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At the end of the trip, they all went to the hospital to surprise Phinehas. He wheeled down to the lobby and saw his entire class waiting for him.

“I was really surprised. It was the whole class,” said Phinehas.

Phinehas said seeing what his classmates did to cheer him up helped lift his spirits.