“After high school, chemo was a piece of cake.”
That message that was found atop of Alicia Carroll’s graduation cap also served as a reminder for her to never give up when things are tough. Her battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma may have stopped her from walking across the stage this weekend with her fellow G. Ray Bodley High School Class of 2018 graduates, but it has never held her back in becoming successful.
As Carroll’s name was called at the graduation ceremony, she was busy at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse receiving chemotherapy.
Unbeknownst to Carroll, her mother Rosalind Nichols and several Fulton City School District administrators planned a surprise, bedside graduation ceremony.
Just as GRB Principal Donna Parkhurst had shook each graduate’s hand early Saturday morning, she extended her hand and a smile to Carroll, congratulating her on completing her high school education.
The moment was complete when Carroll moved her tassel from the right to the left side of her cap and was officially declared a GRB graduate.
“It was so nice, but I wasn’t expecting them to come to the hospital,” Carroll said, with gratitude.
She took a moment to look over her diploma as family members, FCSD staff members and hospital nurses cheered her on. Nichols credited Elizabeth Conners, FCSD Executive Director of Instruction and Assessment, with getting the ball rolling.
The Conners family understood all too well what Carroll and her family were going through, as Conners’ now adult son, Tim, fought cancer when he attended GRB and subsequently lost his sight.
While being treated at Golisano, he, at one point, had also stayed in the same room as Carroll.
He joined Carroll and her family for the occasion, as did his guide dog Lang and GRB assistant principals Marc Copani and Amy Stephenson.
Carroll’s graduation was complete with a special gift from the Conners family and the ultimate gift that afternoon: she rang the bell at the hospital which signified her final chemotherapy treatment.