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Michelle is a 2013 graduate of Goddard high school after a year of being homeschooled. In 2005 her mother, who is remembered for her generosity as a teacher and dedication to her family, lost her battle to stomach cancer. Michelle turned this tragedy of only having her mom in her life for ten years into a positive experience by focusing on obtaining good grades. She managed to get all As through elementary school, middle school, and high school. She also became a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist. She plans on studying elementary education at Emporia State because of her passion to help kids learn.


Rachel is a 2013 graduate of Shawnee Mission West. Her mother was diagnosed with Melanoma twice in her life; the second time was stage four cancer. As a special education teacher, Rachel’s mother was known for being extremely generous, helpful, and happy. She always wanted to help others even when she was sick, which has inspired Rachel to volunteer more and give back to others. This also inspired Rachel to strive for good grades, which she succeeded in doing, graduating in the top ten percent of her school. She was then accepted into the Kansas Honors Program. She has said that the loss of her mother has also made her more independent and stronger because of it. She is attending the University of Kansas and pursuing a degree in biology, and hopes to continue with a physical therapy degree because she would like to help people.

Brett is a 2013 graduate of Raytown South High School. He is an Eagle Scout, volunteer, and honor roll student. His mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001; they later found out in 2009 that it had spread to her ovaries. After a long battle with this deteriorating disease, Brett’s mother passed away on New Year’s Eve in 2011. Instead of developing a bitter attitude for this challenge in his life, Brett has found his experience to make him more conscious of bringing honor to his mother’s memory. He is thankful for what he has, and because of his mother’s experience, has developed a positive attitude in remembering to appreciate the small things. Brett is attending Missouri University of Science and Technology.


Samantha is a 2013 graduate of Perry-Lecompton High School. Samantha developed a strong friendship with her father who she said was her biggest supporter and best friend after moving in with him when her parents divorced. Only a year after living with him, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and Samantha and her father moved in with her grandparents. During her junior year of high school she lost her father. She says that although it was an emotionally challenging period in her life, she has been able to gain the motivation to live up to her fullest potential — whether in school or leadership roles. Since her father’s passing, Samantha has learned to accept help from others in her life, including her grandparents, who play a big role as her caretakers. She plans on studying elementary education at Emporia State.



Catelynne is from Elkhart in central Kansas and recently lost her father to prostate cancer in October of 2013 after only being diagnosed in January of that year. She has an older brother who attends college in another part of the country. To help her mom afford to move where her brother attends school and where she would have the support of her family, Catelynne accelerated her studies to graduate a full year early. In doing so she plans to attend the same school as her brother, and her mom to move home. Her school counsellor said that she would have easily graduated as valedictorian has she not accelerated her course load. She plans to study to be an optometrist.​


Quinn is a 2013 graduate of Central High School. She was adopted when she was eight months old. Her father was very involved in her childhood, despite his health problems. He attended music rehearsals and drove Quinn to volunteer at the zoo. Her father was diagnosed in early 2009 with Multiple Myeloma. Later, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away in September of 2009. Although she was adopted, Quinn has discovered multiple similarities between her father’s personality and her own, including responsibility and organization. She is thankful her father taught her the importance of volunteering and the importance of giving back as well as the importance of education. She will be continuing her education and studying biology at college.


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