After medical scare, French exchange student heading back home today

Lottie Rocuet in her graduation gown. Photo courtesy Laure Losey.
Lottie Rocuet in her graduation gown. Photo courtesy Laure Losey.

Lottie Rocuet and her parents are finally able to head home.

Rocuet's teachers and host family held an impromptu graduation ceremony for her last week. Photo courtesy Laure Losey.
Rocuet’s teachers and host family held an impromptu graduation ceremony for her last week. Photo courtesy Laure Losey.

The 17-year-old native of Bordeaux, France, has been living in northeast Johnson County since late last summer as part of a foreign exchange program through the Rotary Club. But Rocuet’s experience living abroad took a scary turn last month when she got a life-threatening infection following the removal of her appendix. Her parents rushed from France to Kansas City in early April to be by her side as she fought the infection, which forced her to have a second operation and spend a week and a half in the intensive care unit.

Rocuet, who had been staying with host parents Sandy and Alan Burgers and was attending classes at Shawnee Mission East, was discharged from the hospital last week. Doctors cleared her to travel yesterday, and she and her parents Anne-Sophie and Christian are flying back to France today.

Though she was relieved to be able to go back home, Lottie was disappointed that she wouldn’t be able to complete her exchange, and would have to miss graduation. So her hosts and teachers worked to ensure she got a taste of the end-of-the-school-year festivities before she left.

Lottie surprised her classmates by attending Thursday’s French Honor Society initiation, and then her teachers held an impromptu early graduation ceremony for her on the way out.

“Everyone was in tears,” said SM East French teacher Laure Losey. “Happy tears!”