St. Michael’s student keeps a healthy attitude

THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014

William Migala of St. Michael’s Academy plans to study medicine in the Philippines. (Dan Pelle)
William Migala of St. Michael’s Academy plans to study medicine in the Philippines. (Dan Pelle)

Sometimes a health crisis can derail high school plans.

William Migala, 17, was in cross country, at one point qualifying for regionals. He also was active in taekwondo, even teaching some classes outside of high school at St. Michael’s Academy.

But his sophomore year he was diagnosed with bone spurs on his femur and cartilage in his hip was torn almost to the bone.

After surgery, he missed four months of school that year. During his junior year, he was diagnosed with sacroiliac joint dysfunction in his hip and missed three more months of school.

Before his problems with his hip, Migala was a very happy-go-lucky kid, said Sister Marie Vianney, principal of the school. She’s noticed a change since then.

“He hasn’t lost his humor, but it’s sobered him,” she said.

Migala agreed with that. Although there was a time when he was pretty depressed about his condition, he knows he still has his sense of humor.

“That part is still in there,” he said. “It’s a bit of a mix.”

Through it all, he’s found other ways to stay involved in school. He played Slow Poke, one of the dwarves in a production of “Snow White,” and is active in choir. He plays a little piano. His favorite subjects are philosophy and history. On Fridays, students at St. Michael’s take elective classes, which he has enjoyed – he’s taken German, personal finance and toured colleges.

His hip still slows him down. He can do physical education class, just “not as well as other people,” he said.

After graduation, he doesn’t have long before college begins. At the beginning of July, he’s moving to the Philippines, where his grandparents live. He’ll attend college there, studying pre-med. He wants to get into either psychiatry or forensics.

“It seems fun,” he said. He finds the behavior of people and what influences them fascinating.

Although he missed a lot of school, he’s graduating on time. He admits he fell behind, but his teachers were accommodating and he’s since caught up. It wasn’t easy, but school is important to him.

“It was just something I had to do,” he said.

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