I mentioned in my last post that Mr. Kroupa returned to Legacy High School this month. Considering all of the injuries that he sustained during the bus crash on September 11, 2016, this is an astounding feat. What is even more amazing is that he has come back with a glowing attitude that I have never witnessed from anybody before. Today, Mr. Kroupa was gracious enough to create a presentation for the students to hear to about his injuries and his experiences. I would like to start this post off by saying that I am no expert on everything that has happened between the bus crash and Mr. Kroupa’s recovery by any means, but I will do my best to recount what I learned from Mr. Kroupa’s presentation today.
Mr. Kroupa was never my teacher, but as a marketing student and a member of DECA, I consider him to be one of my mentors. From the previous interactions I have had with him, he was always smiling and joking around with the students. At DECA competitions, I have recognized the fact that he was always very supportive and constantly asking questions about our competitions and how we thought we had performed.
Six months after a terrifying bus crash, during which Mr. Kroupa sustained a shattered hip, broken teeth, a cracked jawbone, and a severe brain injury, among other things, he has come back with a positive attitude more noticeable than ever.
Mr. Kroupa’s presentation today focused on the lessons that he has learned throughout this entire ordeal, if I could even describe his struggles in such a casual way. The majority of these lessons included ways in which we can all work harder to maintain hope and positivity in daily life, no matter what we experience along the way.
The most poignant thing that I learned from the presentation is the power that the effort in
working towards a better tomorrow can have on your life. As Mr. Kroupa said, the idea of working for what you want is in no way new, but many of us don’t realize how important this old adage actually is. During the presentation, Mr. Kroupa emphasized that dedication is not always easy, but worth it in the long run in order for your hopes to come true. To paraphrase the story that Mr. Kroupa used as an example, while he was going through grueling physical therapy, he focused on being the type of patient that always got up to try and get better each day, no matter what, rather than the patient who hoped that he would feel better tomorrow without getting up and putting effort into creating a better tomorrow. After worrying so much about school projects and the stress of college and applications, this part of the presentation really put my silly problems into perspective. If I put more time into achieving my goals rather than complaining about them before I graduate, the rest will come easily.
Mr. Kroupa also highlighted the necessity of creating goals for ourselves so that we always have something to work for that keeps us motivated. During his stay in the hospital, Mr. Kroupa’s primary goals surrounding surrounded having the ability to shower and use the bathroom by himself, and eventually being able to stand up and out of his wheelchair (which he was able to go without three months after the crash). He was also able to prove the doctors wrong when they said that he would lose memory function and his ability to use language as well as he could before the crash. You should see him now. Besides a few scars, it certainly doesn’t look like Mr. Kroupa suffered as much as he did, or that anyone would have ever doubted that he wasn’t capable of making a full recovery. I think that many people attempt to set goals, but we always assume that if we don’t achieve them by the time that we want to, our chance will eventually come, or a miracle will happen to us. However, here is an example of a man who never gave up on his goals, and continuously set new goals in order to keep his spirits up and to push through recovery.
It was absolutely inspiring to sit in on a presentation from a man who has gone through so much, yet exudes happiness and excitement about being back at work and having the opportunity to share his story with the student body. Mr, Kroupa’s life changed forever when the bus crash occurred, yet all he could focus on was the fact that he learned so much while going through this struggle for six months (and the fact that he is expecting a third baby with his wife next month). It goes to show that life works in mysterious ways, and although it is not always fair, as long as we work hard to achieve our goals and focus on the wonderful things that bring us happiness, we can achieve positivity.
Consider me amazed. I have been trying all year to work on maintaining a better attitude, and after seeing Mr. Kroupa and hearing what he had to say today, I have to say that all of my efforts have been put to shame. While I will now do my best to avoid automatic negative thoughts, I know that bad days will always come. But the best that I can do is to work through all of them, with the hope of a better tomorrow.
I am only sorry that I cannot share the entire presentation with you here, as I believe that everyone could benefit from listening to Mr. Kroupa’s experiences. I have done my best to give you a brief glimpse into the lessons that I learned (based on the lessons that Mr. Kroupa himself learned), but I know that it in no way compares to the actual speech. I can only
hope that my post is worthy of Mr. Kroupa’s inspiring presentation, and I wish him and his family all the best as they move ahead with their lives after the crash. I hope that you were enlightened as well…
And Don’t Forget to Make It Meghan!