Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
How often can one person touch the life of not only one child, but also his family and all those involved in the beautiful event we call life. Miss Stacey Peterson came into our lives in a time when we needed her most.
My son, Alec, had been treated for a cancerous brain tumor called medulloblastoma. After having his tumor removed, Alec needed someone to come into his life and help him reintegrate back into society with his friends and those that cared about him. During the summer before the school year he underwent radiation and chemotherapy, draining him of energy and ambition. These treatments continue to occur even today. When the fall came, fears of new sicknesses and unknown risks pulled me to conclude that Alec should not be exposed to the classroom environment. But then Miss Peterson entered our lives and offered an alternate solution. Allowing him to physically attend the class only a few days a week, Miss Peterson created the idea of using Skype to have video conferences between Alec and his classmates and instructor. This all came about because of Miss Peterson's kindness and devotion to her role of blessing the lives of all the kids within her reach. She sacrificed her extra time, resources make this all possible.
Even when some solutions and options came forth, she continued to seek out and discover even better ways of how to allow Alec to benefit from academic learning and interaction. Through such loving devotion, soon others wanted to join in and be a part of this miracle. Two other teachers also began to Skype with Alec for their classes, and then school and learning became a reality for Alec. No longer did physical barrier hinder his chance for growth and success.
The next step was adding students in to the mix, allowing Alec to work directly with other students on projects and worksheets, helping him elude the dreaded emotion of loneliness. This wasn't done at one certain point during this miraculous process, but through questions and answers, events and discussions, Alec truly felt included in these classes.
Again, Miss Peterson did not stop there, but continued to strive to help Alec know that she cared. At Halloween she invited the students to take a trick or treat to him at our home. At Christmas she brought over sugar free candy to make a train that the class had made. She helped him do art projects. Whenever they had a class party she would bring the party in a bag to him at home. On his birthday she made a big sign with balloons for the yard and had each student write him a birthday card. She brought all the things he would need to do the science experiments. She attended a class on how to help students with cancer. She came to visit him in the hospital. She made and played games with him. She knows he love to read so she made sure he had good books and always the new book order forms! When she learned that he was falling behind in math she started to come over after school to help him with math. He would be having a rough day but when she came he would just light up. Because of his treatments Alec lost his hair. In the middle of the school year she arranged with the principal to let Alec shave the principal Mr. Richard Baird's head and four other boys from the class. At the end of the year he took 3 end of level tests and scored average or above average on them.
Miss Peterson changed the life of my son. But the wonderful part of this story; Alec is not the only one touched by her love. She helps students after student to do things they couldn't do for themselves. She teaches them to think for themselves. And now, after witnessing her success, her fellow teachers and colleagues are following her footsteps and the children of Syracuse are receiving the blessings from it. We hope this letter portrays a little of how great she truly is and how she has blessed the lives of all her students.