Fighting cancer her entire life, Lyndsey Staub hopes to graduate from Dixie Hollins High School in a few days if she can make up her last bit of work. Her determination and grit are an inspiration to us all. So are the perseverance and commitment of the teachers and principals who have invested so much of themselves in helping her realize her dream.
As Times staff writer Lisa Gartner recounted Sunday, "Lyndsey started at Dixie Hollins High missing a kidney, her thyroid, pieces of her lungs and shavings of her bones." A year ago, doctors said there was nothing more they could do and gave her maybe 12 months to live.
In a world of standardized testing and performance pay, teachers and principals are too often demonized or considered interchangeable parts. Keep in mind educators like Dixie principal Dan Evans and Lisa Sinatra, the assistant principal in charge of the senior class, who worked so hard to get Lyndsey where she is today. Whenever she wanted to drop out, they just told her, "No." Then they found a way to help her keep going. Many teachers throughout Tampa Bay and Florida quietly do this day after day, helping students meet their goals even when health issues or other forces outside the classroom make the climb so much tougher.
"Lyndsey is not a statistic. She's not a student number, and there are dozens and dozens of Lyndseys," the principal said. "They don't have medical conditions like Lyndsey has, but they have life struggles, family struggles, that are severe. We save them one at a time."