Meredith Students Rally Support for Teacher’s Son


Meredith student gathered for a group photo to send a message of hope to teacher Gary Morris’s son, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

It’s got to be tough getting up and doing your business as usual when you know your son is facing tests to determine the extent of the cancer that was recently detected in his body. But that’s what Meredith 7th grade science teacher Gary Morris had on his mind when he got to school this morning. His 32 year-old son Danny was diagnosed with lung cancer and the next step in finding out exactly what the family is up against was scheduled for Wednesday.

That gave a fellow 7th grade team member, math teacher Jared Cochran, an idea. Morris had shared with his colleagues, who consider one another family, that someone had given Danny a bouquet of flashy socks and told him to wear them as a loud, emphatic statement that cancer would not take him down. So Cochran and the rest of the 7th grade team instructed their students to don their gaudiest socks today and plan to gather on the school lawn to send a message of support Danny’s way.

It was supposed to read GO DANNY, in living, breathing calligraphy. A rooftop photographer was arranged to capture the image for transmission to Danny and whatever it may have lacked in legibility was more than offset by sincerity and the collective vibe of a couple of hundred young, strong, healthy bodies bombarding an afflicted one with positive energy.

“Trying to spell with 7th graders for letters can be like herding cats,” observed 7th grade literacy teacher Jill Dykstra. “But I think we made our point of lending support to one of our own.”

That mission was certainly accomplished. Morris was on the scene as one of the herders and the look on his face when everybody smiled at the camera with their hands cupped in the shape of a heart was sure to be matched later by Danny when the gesture reached him.

“We think they discovered this early,” Morris said as the students aligned in the grass. “Danny is being tested right now to find out.”

Then the unorthodox but heartfelt treatment began.

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