Lyndsey Staub put on a little bit of makeup. It was Friday morning and she was headed to Dixie Hollins High School to hug-hello her teachers and eat breakfast with the senior class. But Lyndsey was going to Dixie on official business, too. She needed to pick up her cap and gown.
Lyndsey, who has fought to finish high school despite cancer and a prognosis that she would not live to June, finished up her final credits this week. She has been given the all-clear to graduate. She'll walk with her class at a June 5 ceremony at Tropicana Field.
Some of Dixie's staffers cried when Lyndsey arrived on Friday. They've all made sure Lyndsey got her class work done, even when she was too sick to come to school.
Lisa Sinatra, the assistant principal in charge of the senior class, said she's expecting a large turnout for the graduation ceremony, which is open to the public. The Tampa Bay Times has received letters, emails and phone calls from readers who want to help Lyndsey and get updates on her condition, following a May 19 story on her struggles with school and cancer.
"I've just heard that people with no connection to the high school are coming," Sinatra said. They want to see Lyndsey walk.
Fellow Dixie students met Lyndsey with hugs on Friday. A girl who once replied to a question from Lyndsey with a snooty, "Don't even talk to me," now chatted with her as they waited in the auditorium.
"I'm just ready to get my cap and gown, and see what it feels like on," Lyndsey said. The school's principal, Dan Evans, offered to give her the cap and gown early, so that she did not have to wait around. But she said no. She wanted to get them at the same time as everyone else.
When students with the last name "S" were called, and Lyndsey got the package that contained the white clothing, she didn't say much. She just put on her cap and gown and joined her class. They marched through the school, weaving through the hallways, laughing and shouting and clapping along to the drum line.
Times staff photographer Lara Cerri contributed to this report. Contact Lisa Gartner at [email protected]