Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Future is the Children

I work in a high school, where there are many brilliant students. One girl spends her extra time in a lab, and she just won $30,000 for her work in cancer research.  This 17 year old girl actually discovered a way to cure a form of liver cancer without the use of chemotherapy.  Yes, she did, it's documented, and she did it by herself.

She also is the captain of the dance/drill team, and they just won the national competition.

Talk about an over-achiever.  Kind of makes you feel a little bit like a slacker, right?

I asked her about her research for a blurb on our school website, and her answer was way over my head.  I asked her to dumb it down for me - to talk to me like I was five.

She must think I'm the smartest five year old in the world, because it was still too hard for me.   Suffice it to say, this girl has an amazing career ahead of her.  She could be the next Dennis Slamon.

Smaller efforts are being made too.  One of our clubs just sold daffodils to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.  I remembered a year ago when I was in the chemo room and got my own daffodils. (It was nice to not receive them this time.)  These kids are also doing a head-shaving event, which was a way of encouraging the students to purchase the flowers.

This Friday, stylists from Paul Mitchell Salons will be out on campus, and four teachers have agreed to shave their heads in thanks for the donations.  The press is expected to come out and document the event due to the amount of money the kids raised.

Which is no surprise - the press been on campus several times recently due to the incredible accomplishments of our students. (One has a school in Liberia named after her).  We have had three news crews and two newspapers in the past two weeks.   I doubt there is a public high school with students of this caliber anywhere else.

While long-time readers know I don't really understand how shaving heads supports cancer patients (the thought of it actually made me a bit sick when I was bald) I do understand the good intentions behind it, and I know seeing a teacher get his head shaved is the kind of thing that gets kids excited.

I admire the desire of young people who want to cure cancer,  either because they have the gifts and knowledge to be able to do complicated medical research at such a young age, or because simple caring  compels them to hold a fundraiser. My own son works Saturdays at a cancer society thrift shop, of which I'm very proud.

It does a heart good to see students who truly care.



  1. Wow, that is one smart kid at your highschool, I don't even comprehend that... there must be a way for me to google her. I think I'll attempt it after this comment :)

    Sounds like there is some awesome school spirit at your school surrounding cancer awareness and that's cool to see.

    I do agree, about the head shaving though... the thought behind it is good, but it doesn't warrant that. We don't actually care if you shave your head... sigh.

  2. I have a young son who wants to be 'a scientist' when he grows up. I can only hope that he will discover a new way to help humanity one day, like the young woman in your school. Fantastic! It's so refreshing to hear about the positive things that young people are doing in this age where people think self-absorbed drivel like MTV's 'Jackass' and "Jersey Shore' is cool.

  3. Just found your blog recently (and read it all)...thank you! Very informative and enjoyable and REAL.

    My husband has mestatic carcinoid tumors in his liver (recently diagnosed) and, living in DC where I think that HS science award event was going on, it's very exciting to me to hear about a young girl already at work on this disease. Very cool!

  4. Yep, she's a remarkable young girl. There are many at this school. You would not be worried about the future if you could see these kids.

    Yes, the event was in DC. :) Sorry to hear about your husband - I hope he's doing okay.

  5. Ann, Reading this just makes me feel good. Our young people are indeed the future. As an educator myself, I love seeing the potential in all of our kids. Thanks for sharing this, Ann.

  6. this is why it's so critical for our government to do more to support math and science education in this country and it scares the crap out of me that we're falling behind and are way down on the list of countries with the best math/science education available. it's great that your school has such high achievers and obviously the teachers/staff that support and foster that level of achievement - we just need more of them - a lot more of them ;)

  7. She is really wonderful girl. Her activities can be impressed anyone. She would be role model of many girls and boys too.

  8. I'd like to know what she did that cured the cancer. are there any interviews of her or writings on how she did it??

  9. She is listed her as 5th:

    I do not think her project is listed any more though so I can't answer what she did.


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