RAVENNA, Mich. — Nearly four months after a car crash that killed two of her siblings, a teenager in Muskegon County was able to walk across the stage and get her diploma on Sunday.
Emily Kubasiak was driving her two siblings, Peter and Erika, to school on some icy roads in February when they collided with another car. Erika, 10, died instantly. Her 16-year-old brother Peter died several days later.
Emily was critically injured, but was able to graduate with the rest of her class on Sunday.
It is a day most parents wouldn't miss for the world, but for Emily's father, it was a day he wasn't sure he would get to see.
"This day was a great help because when she went into the hospital my first thought was 'Boy I hope she's able to recover and graduate with her class' and she was able to do that," said John Kubasiak, Emily's father. "It has helped tremendously."
John Kubasiak witnessed his daughter Emily graduate from Ravenna High School with the class of 2016. A milestone he says couldn't have happened without the help of the Ravenna community.
“Without the community I’m not sure exactly where we’d be," said Kubasiak. "Anyone that’s gone through this, because I know we’re not the only people who’ve gone through something like this, if they don’t have a support like we had, it would’ve been devastating. The community has picked us up from day one and helped us heal. Even though we’re still never going to be completely the same, we’re well on our way and we’re looking forward to Emily going on and having a great future.”
Not only was Kubasiak asked to speak at graduation, he was able to hand Emily her diploma himself.
"It was a special thing, I’m sure there’s a lot of parents that would love to be in that situation, being able to do it, I’m just lucky enough that I was able to do it,” said Kubasiak.
As the family gets ready for their oldest child to start the next chapter of her life, they say they're preparing to deal with an empty home, much sooner than they ever thought.
“That’s a little different story for us because suddenly we are empty-nesters or at least we will be in a couple of years," said Kubasiak. "Before, we had 15 years before that happened, so we’ll just have to see day by day what comes for that and just adjust to it and do the best we can.”
John wants to thank the community for all of their support getting through this difficult time. He told FOX17 Emily is fully healed for the most part and will be attending Muskegon Community College before transferring to Grand Valley State University or Kendall College of Art and Design for graphic design.