Lumpkin back at school for first time since accident

Senior+Mayten+Lumpkin+laughs+with+senior+Matt+Wells+during+class.+Lumpkin%27s+first+day+back+was+Feb.+27.

Photo by Lauren Maynard

Senior Mayten Lumpkin laughs with senior Matt Wells during class. Lumpkin’s first day back was Feb. 27.

Story by Alex O'Gorman, editor in chief

Over five months after the diving accident that paralyzed him from the neck down, senior Mayten Lumpkin returned to the halls of Texas High. Mayten’s first day back was Monday, Feb. 27.

Since the accident, Mayten has been a patient in the Texas Institute of Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) in Houston, where he underwent physical therapy and has regained movement and feeling in his upper torso and some of his lower torso.

Mayten’s family viewed the transition with trepidation.

“I felt like I was dropping him off for his first day of school all over again,” Mayten’s mother Missy Lumpkin said. “By the time we left we had no doubt that the staff, as well as his friends would take care of him and make sure he had a great day.”

While in Houston, Mayten was pulled out of all his classes except the ones he still needed in order to graduate, which were English IV, microeconomics and physics.

“I had a homebound teacher come two days a week every week, and I got caught up on all my schoolwork,” Mayten said. “I could have actually graduated first semester, but I wanted to graduate with [my class].”

The adjustment from being at home to being at public school once more has been a big one. The experience has offered Mayten a few ups and downs so far.

“It’s nice to be back with everybody, it’s nice to feel more normal,” Mayten said. “But I can’t really open doors that well and none of the doors are automatic.”

Since it has been so long since the accident, Mayten’s friends have become accustomed to not seeing him, making him being back at school an adjustment for them as well.

“It was kind of weird whenever I first saw him,” senior Connor Anderson said. “It just seemed out of place because I’ve gotten so used to him being not in school. It was a good kind of weird.”

Although a lot has happened in the last few months, Mayten wants his peers to treat him the same as they would have before the accident.

“Approach me like a normal person. Don’t put extra emphasis on it just because I’m in a chair,” Mayten Lumpkin said. “I’m still exactly who I was before–nothing changed except my physical appearance.”

Mayten hopes to be able to improve significantly by May so he can walk across the stage at graduation. After graduation, Mayten plans to pursue a normal college experience

“I’m attending the University of North Texas in the fall,” Mayten Lumpkin said. “I’m going on a tour over spring break and looking at handicapped rooms.”

Overall, the transition back to public school has been a smooth one for Mayten and his family.

“The staff has been nothing short of phenomenal throughout this entire ordeal and we are forever grateful,” Missy Lumpkin said. “Our family cannot convey how proud we are to be part of the THS family.”