You might wonder how the kids at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital keep up with their classwork while they are getting treatment. Well, there is actually a school on campus.
KMPH News anchor Ralph Wood has more on the school and one of the dedicated teachers who makes it work.
This is the ABC's of Cancer Wall at the hospital, with each letter corresponding with a word that is all too familiar to some of the kids here.
N...needles. M...melanoma. K...for kemo. But we also have L...for little miracles...what they're all hoping for here at St. Jude.
The ABC's of Cancer Wall has a special place here as does the place where they teach and learn ABC's.
Most people are surprised to find out they have a functioning school at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. But it serves a vital function.
"We treat them just like they would want to be treated back at home. We give them homework, we hold them to high accountability, high standards, we give them tests, we give them report cards because we want to give them that sense of normalcy, and that's something we can provide here," said Justin Gardner, who teaches 7th through 12th grade at St. Jude.
Seven teachers serve students from kindergarten through high school -- in the classroom, or at the bedside. And the school provides more than academic help.
"Our kids that miss out on those milestones, you think about all these little milestones that maybe you don't think about. Like prom. We have a prom here. We have a high school graduation. We have kindergarten graduation. So we really try to think about every little thing we can that they might be missing at home, and try to make that a reality for them," said Gardner.
Serving as a teacher here gives Justin Gardner a sense of purpose and fulfillment he may not have found elsewhere.
"If you spend five minutes at this hospital you'll realize it's something a lot deeper than that. There's a connection that we have with each other. There's a connection that we have with these children and these families that can't really be described. It's so rewarding. We talk about zero motivation factors for our kids. There's zero motivation factors for us to get out of bed in the morning because we know we're going to come to an amazing place, do amazing work, with amazing kids. And that really can't be quantified," said Gardner.
I asked him, "Could you ever see yourself at a public school?"
"Never. No, no. This is where I want to be. This is so much more rewarding. To be able to see a kid progressing through their treatment and fighting their illness, and at the same time reaching all their educational goals and moving on. If I could see a kid promoted to the next grade, or graduated from high school, or graduated from kindergarten even, then I feel we've done an amazing job with our kids and they've done an amazing job. So I can't see myself anywhere else," said Gardner.
There is a saying. Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life. Justin Gardner has found his.
A parolee wanted on drug charges is back in custody — and a woman has been reunited with her three children — after a dramatic night that included a beating, a daring escape and a gun being fired. FresnoMore >>
A parolee wanted on drug charges is back in custody — and a woman has been reunited with her three children — after a dramatic night that included a beating, a daring escape and a gun being fired.More >>
A Reedley winery that caught fire has forced the evacuation of a nearby elementary school Monday afternoon. The fire was first reported around 2 p.m. at O'Neill Vintners and Distillery on LacJac Avenue. StudentsMore >>
A Reedley winery that caught fire has forced the evacuation of a nearby elementary school Monday afternoon.More >>