From the Principal’s Pen – April 2019
From the Principal’s Pen
Submitted by: Jennifer McGee, Principal of Atwood Primary School
Nine years ago, the staff and students of Atwood Primary School gathered together to support two kindergartners by holding a fundraising parade for the American Cancer Society!
On the day of the parade, parents and friends, brothers and sisters joined us, and they all held signs with the names of those they love who had been diagnosed with cancer. We had a convertible, top down, and those two little kindergarten girls rode proudly, as the grand marshals of the parade.
After the parade, we all marveled at the number of lives represented in just our small school; lives that had been impacted by cancer. We decided, at that point, that we would make the parade an annual event.
The exciting news is that those two little kindergartners are now high school students!
It’s funny how little moments stick out in your mind. This fall, I am sure you remember, we held our 9th annual parade to support the fight against cancer. As I was running around getting ready for the parade, a spunky, delightful little first grader hailed me down: “Hey, Mrs. McGee,” she hollered after me. She got my attention, and with a big smile on her face she impishly said, “Cancer sucks,” and she held up her sign for me to see. Indeed her sign read Cancer Sucks!
I nodded in her direction, “It sure does Karsyn. It sure does.”
And cancer does not discriminate. Over February vacation, that very first grade friend complained to her mother about pain in her leg. Upon investigation, this Momma discovered her daughter had a large, hard lump on her leg, so she brought her to the hospital. Once there, they were quickly referred to Boston Children’s Hospital, ultimately learning Karsyn has an osteosarcoma on her leg… a form of cancer.
Karsyn, our Atwood Primary School first grader, is currently in the process of undergoing an aggressive treatment regime to cure her cancer. She is having surgery on her leg and is having chemotherapy treatments.
Our school community is totally Atwood Awesome! Several of you, prior to reading this Principal’s Pen, knew about Karsyn’s diagnosis. And as soon as word trickled out, parents began coming to me to see how they could help.
First of all, it’s important to know how to talk to your child about how to help a friend who is undergoing treatment for cancer. You can gently tell your child to be a caring friend when they see Karsyn. The chemotherapy will cause her to lose her hair, so you will want to guide your child to be kind and caring, and not draw undo attention to her hair loss. It’s also important for them to know when she is at school, we just want her to be a kid, so they can say they are happy to see her, and they can ask how she is feeling, but mostly, she’ll probably just want to talk about kid stuff. Finally, you can help by remembering that Karsyn’s immune system will be compromised, so if your child is ill, please keep him/her home until they have been symptom free for 24 hours!
Here’s another way the Atwood family is joining together to help:
On Monday, March 25, at 8:35, we will be holding an Atwood Town Meeting. That will be Kaps for Karsyn Day! We invite your child to wear a hat that day, and bring a donation for Karsyn. Any amount is welcome. If you choose to write a check, please make the check to Danielle Mann. Also, gas cards and cards for take out food are welcome. And of course, you are welcome to join us for Kaps for Karsyn!
Aren’t we lucky to live in a time when doctors are getting so good at treating childhood cancer. Nonetheless, the treatment regime is brutal and expensive and the journey is scary, and any time a child’s health is impacted, it’s agonizing on the family. We want to lock arms with this little family and have them feel the embrace of their school community. Afterall, Karsyn said it best, holding her hand made sign last fall: cancer sucks.
Jennifer McGee, Principal of Atwood Primary School
Dates to Note:
Monday, March 25: Kaps for Karsyn Day! Have your child wear a hat to school and bring in a donation of any size to support Karsyn’s family during her treatment. Bring cash, a check or a gas or food card.
Tuesday, March 26: Early Release Day/ 12:00 noon release for Teacher In-Service
Atwood just got the FRUIT AND VEGETABLE grant back!! We will have fresh fruit and veggie snacks for your children for the rest of the school year…FOR FREE!!!!