This past Monday, Rome’s Noon Optimist Club hosted the Student of the Semester Luncheon for all of the middle school representatives in the area. It was a fantastic lunch and I truly appreciated what the Noon Optimist Club did for these students.
Our middle school Student of the Semester was eighth-grader Abigail Yerke. In a moment, you will be able to read her speech to those in attendance at the luncheon, but more importantly, we wanted to recognize how lucky we are as a school to have a student like Abigail. Yes, we are able to say that she is a great student that she gets good grades and does numerous activities. But more importantly, she comes to school every day to learn with passion, act with integrity, and serve with respect.
Here is what she had to say:
Hello, my name is Abigail Yerke and I am proud to represent Darlington School. I believe Darlington is an amazing school with lots of great people and numerous opportunities to lead in a variety of arenas. I am excited to be nominated by my teachers and appreciate the recognition.
As a current eighth-grader, I am vice president of our Student Council, an active member in both of our middle school choirs, a co-captain of our cheerleading team, and I am taking an honors Algebra 1 course while taking eight courses a semester.
In high school, I plan on staying involved in these same programs and possibly trying a few more. One interest that I am currently not doing at Darlington, but really want to look into, is playing the piano.
As for college and a career, I plan on going to college somewhere near home. As of right now, I plan on either being a pediatric oncologist or teacher because I love working with kids. I think I might like to be a doctor because I had a fantastic doctor who took care of me during my cancer treatments. Through my experiences, I feel I could better relate to the kids and help them understand what they would be going through.
Growing up, I was living a pretty normal life. However, when I was in third grade my mom and I realized I started to have a thirst issue. I was drinking excessively and my mom, a nurse, was very concerned and took me to a doctor who quickly sent me to get an MRI. The results came back. I had a brain tumor; it was a germinoma. They put me under general anesthesia and sent me in to have a biopsy. I thought I was done but things only got worse. They sent me to Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), which I would consider one of the worst places ever. I say this because they put me on these intense steroids and it literally made me crazy. During this hectic time, one bright spot was my nurse. She took care of me and helped me understand what I was going through.
After a couple of days in the PICU, I was able to leave and begin my next treatment, Chemotherapy. I went through two rounds of chemo and 30 rounds of radiation and I was exhausted. I lost my hair, I was always starving, and I really didn’t feel like doing anything, but I didn’t miss a single day of school.
With all of this said, my brain tumor is now gone! Thanks to my awesome doctors and staff and the support of my mom and family, I can do anything. I look forward to what this world has to offer and know I can get through any situation.
Congratulations, Abigail! We are super proud of you and look forward to what you have to offer this world. You are going to do amazing in whatever endeavor you choose.