SACRAMENTO, Calif. (WRIC/ABC) — All 130 members of the John F. Kennedy High School Marching Band in Sacramento, California, showed up at Taariq Jensen’s house this past weekend with their instruments in tow.
Jensen is a high school senior who missed his homecoming celebration because he’s still recovering from severe brain injuries he suffered after a hit-and-run in June.
The 17-year-old was one of three cyclists struck on June 30 by a man behind the wheel of a stolen car. Jensen spent more than a month hospitalized. He hasn’t been able to return to school and is now completing his high school education remotely through the school’s district medical independent study program, which allows a tutor to visit him twice a week.
When Ken Adams heard his daughter, one of Taariq’s track and field teammates, talk about the teen’s accident, he thought about what could be done to support him.
“She said ‘Dad, can we do more?’ and I said ‘I think we can,’” Adams told ABC News. “It touched me to hear my daughter talk about someone they respect so much.”
Realizing the injured student wouldn’t be able to attend his last homecoming, Adams came up with the plan to bring the celebrations to his doorstep and, with the help of school administrators and the school district, got the band and Jensen’s friends together.
“No one should miss their high school senior year,” Adams said, holding back tears. “I know Taariq would give anything to have his normal life back.”
More than 140 people showed up at the teen’s doorway Saturday to reenact homecoming for their injured friend. They played pep music and the entire homecoming show just for him.
Jensen, who hopes to go back to school part-time in January, told ABC News the surprise made him realize how much his friends care about him.
“It’s really awesome that all these people took time from their day to come,” he said. “I know it’s not easy to bring 130 people down the street. It really means a lot to see people want me to be happy. It makes me realize that I need to get what I had in the past back, I need to push harder to get what I had back.”