‘Would You Make It By 4:30?’: Graduation Speaker Must Race to Muskego

By Elena Chamberlain, Current Staff

Directly after giving her graduation speech, Danielle Schumacher has to bolt.  

Danielle Schumacher, an English teacher at West Bend West High School, was asked to give the faculty graduation speech on June 5. An hour away in Muskego, though, her grandmother is getting married the same day. 

Earlier this school year, Schumacher had gotten a wedding invitation from her grandmother, set to be married in November. As COVID-19 slowly became a more serious issue and people began to cancel, her grandmother and fiancee decided to push the wedding back until June 5. Schumacher had been told about the date change, but another formal invitation wasn’t sent out yet, so when West principal Ralph Schlass asked her, on behalf of the graduation committee, to give the graduation speech in February, she said yes. 

“When he said that, I was completely blown away and honored,” Schumacher said. 

After accepting his request, she began thinking about what date graduation was on. Schumacher looked on the website and figured out that West graduation was on June 5 at 1:30 p.m. She knew something was on that date, but couldn’t remember exactly what. When it clicked, though, she immediately felt conflicted. She first texted her grandma, explaining the situation and asking if she was fine with Schumacher giving the speech.

The exact text she received back was, “Would you still be able to make it by 4:30?”

Even with the hour drive to Muskego, Schumacher knew she could. She emailed Schlass, asking if she could leave right after giving her 15-minute speech. He said that was fine. 

She received the formal invitation to her grandma’s wedding a few weeks later, but the time had changed. They had pushed it back another 30 minutes, to give her granddaughter more time to get there. 

“Incredibly, I didn’t have to trade off one thing for another,” Schumacher said.

(Top image: West English teacher Danielle Schumacher, right, with her grandmother in January 2018. Photo courtesy of Schumacher.)

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