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EDUCATION: K-12: STUDENTS : MEDICAL: DISEASES: CANCER: Woodland School: Student with Cancer Can't Graduate

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  • David P. Dillard
    EDUCATION: K-12: STUDENTS : MEDICAL: DISEASES: CANCER: Woodland School: Student with Cancer Can t Graduate Woodland School: Student with Cancer Can t Graduate
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 4, 2008
      Woodland School: Student with Cancer Can't Graduate

      Woodland School: Student with Cancer Can't Graduate
      Television News Channel 10 Sacremento Stockton Modesto, California ABC
      Written byPosted By: Dave Marquis, Reporter

      Woodland, CA- 18-year-old Leanna Elizalde knows she's behind in her
      classes. Since December she had two cancer surgeries and faced weeks of
      radiation therapy that left her with at least one english class she has to
      finish in order to graduate on Saturday. "I was falling behind in some
      classes. But I tried my best to catch up," she said.

      Leanna's mother Lupe Ramirez said she asked the school to allow her
      daughter to graduate with her fellow students, even if she has to finish
      her classes over the summer. "I spoke with the vice principal. I spoke
      with the principal and even the school district and they're all like,
      nope, nope, nope, absolutely not," said Ramirez.

      Woodland High School Principal Evelia Genera responded to News Ten's
      questions by saying, "Oh, I have no comment," and later adding, "You're
      not her parent. I'm not at liberty to discuss students with anyone but the


      Education Etc.
      Woodland School Tells Student with Cancer She'll Miss Graduation
      Posted in the Education Etc. Forum

      [Change Page Numbers at the right end of the URL to see additional pages
      of comments on this development.]

      I am a RN from Ohio who works a one of the top 3 pediatric hospitals in
      the country. I am baffaled by the punative manner and outright hostility
      on the part of the school. This young lady should be allowed to
      participate in the graduation ceremony and given her diploma at a later
      date when she completes the requirements. Why would anyone want to punish
      her by denying her the once in a lifetime chance to walk across the stage
      with her peers? She has CANCER!!!! She didn't miss school because she was
      out partying-she was fighting for her LIFE!!!!


      Calif. High School Denies Graduation to Senior with Cancer
      June 4th, 2008 | Awful Publicity

      A shorter URL for the above link:


      Leannas mother Lupe Ramirez attempted to persuade the school to allow
      Leanna to walk in the graduation ceremony with her fellow students, as she
      plans to finish her class over the summer. Despite talking with the vice
      principal, the principal, and school district officials, she has been
      rebuffed at every turn.

      Woodland High School administrators have refused to comment to any press
      regarding this incident.

      Leannas doctor at the University of California - Davis, Robert Canter, has
      even gone so far as to write a letter to Woodland High School principal
      Evelia Genera hoping to encourage the school to reconsider their decision,
      saying that refusing to allow her to graduate with her class would be
      perceived as a punitive action toward his pediatric cancer patient.


      Woodland High telephone: (530)-662-4678
      E-mail the principal: Evelia Genera - egenera@...
      Call the school district office: (530) 662-0201
      - ask for the superintendent, Jacki Cottingim


      School won't let student with cancer graduate
      by Roger Sinasohn Jun 4th 2008 10:54AM
      Categories: Teens & tweens, Medical conditions, Education
      Parent Dish

      A shorter URL for the above link:


      So you'd think with an explanation like that, the school would be able to
      work something out so she could graduate with her friends and classmates,
      eh? Well, no. The school has steadfastly refused to let Elizalde graduate
      with her class, says her mother, Lupe Ramirez. "I spoke with the vice
      principal. I spoke with the principal and even the school district and
      they're all like, nope, nope, nope, absolutely not," said Ramirez.

      Even Elizalde's doctor got involved, writing the school on her behalf. "I
      strongly believe that (Leanna) should be allowed to participate in her
      graduation ceremony," wrote UC Davis Professor of Clinical Surgery, Robert
      Canter, "and I think that refusal to do so would be construed as a
      punitive action unbefitting a pediatric cancer patient."


      School Denies Graduation To Cancer Patient
      June 4th, 2008
      The Moderate Voice

      A shorter URL for the above link:


      The facts are fairly straightforward. 18 year old Lenna Elizalde is a
      senior at Woodland High School and has been fighting cancer for the last
      six months. She has undergone two surgeries along with extensive
      chemotherapy since her diagnosis.

      This has caused her to miss a number of classes during her hospital stays.
      Most teachers understood the problem and gave her extra credit projects
      and allowed her make up missed tests. But one teacher would not do so and
      as a result she is one English class credit short of graduation.

      This means she will have to take the class over the summer, which is
      fairly standard procedure for people who are behind on their credits.
      However given the unusual circumstances it has been suggested that she be
      allowed to participate in the graduation ceremonies and be given
      recognition for her battle with cancer.


      Cancer keeps teen from graduating
      Woodland High School senior is 5 units short
      Article Created: 06/04/2008 07:21:04 AM PDT
      Daily Democrat
      Woodland, California

      Six months ago Woodland High School senior Leanna Elizalde was told that
      the painful lump on her leg was in fact a cancerous tumor.

      "During surgery (the doctor) ended up finding the tumor," she said. "We
      went for a follow up a week later and he told us that there was cancer in
      the cells."

      For the rest of the school year Elizalde would try hard to balance school
      and a social life all while battling sheath nerve cancer.

      She even attended prom last month, with a drainage bag neatly tucked under
      her prom dress.

      "You couldn't really see it because I had it tied down and my dress was
      long," Elizalde said. "I didn't have as much fun as my other friends did,
      because I still had that to worry about."

      However, class absences caused by weeks of radiation treatment and two
      surgeries continued to mount, and she quickly found herself falling behind
      in school work.

      Many of her teachers gave her make-up tests and extra credit work to keep

      "I was falling behind and you really don't know what you miss until you're
      there in the class," she said. "I had to struggle getting work, I had to
      beg the teachers and ask 'Can I get a second chance?,' and some teachers
      did give me a second chance."

      One teacher didn't.

      "It was a class I failed as a junior and I was making it up as a zero
      period. But because I missed so many days, and I was falling behind before
      I left, the teacher didn't give me a second chance to get caught up," she

      Without that class she found out she was five units from graduation. She
      needed 230 units to get her diploma and had 225.

      While Elizalde will be able to graduate this summer, after she makes up
      the class she failed, she still won't be able to walk with her friends
      this Saturday.

      Her mother, Lupe Ramirez, however, hasn't given up. Ramirez tried several
      times to convince school officials to let Elizalde walk on graduation day.

      After talking to WHS Principal Evelia Genera, Ramirez was told that her
      daughter could not participate in the ceremony.

      "She wasn't going to give her a break," Ramierz said.


      Luckily, Elizalde still has a lot of things to look forward to.

      Her doctor told her that after her surgeries and weeks of radiation
      treatment, she is now cancer free.

      "She still recuperating from that, but she has a little ways to go until
      she's completely healed," said Ramirez.

      And after going to summer school, Elizalde will get what really matters to
      her - a high school diploma.

      It won't end there.

      Her experience battling cancer has helped her realize what she wants to do
      after high school.

      "I want to go to medical school," she said. "After everything that I went
      through, I want to get into that field. It was interesting to me, while I
      was going through radiation and being at the cancer center every week."


      Weblogs comments and views regarding Leanna Elizalde

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      CNN Video Report

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      The complete articles may be read at the URLs provided for each.


      David Dillard
      Temple University
      (215) 204 - 4584
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