Classmates Rally Around Sick Girl - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/30/05

Classmates Rally Around Sick Girl

Lauren Dotson Lauren Dotson

Students work hard all year long in anticipation of that end-of-the-school-year party. Students at St. James Elementary had one that was kind of special.

Popcorn and pizza were a must, even when your class is as extraordinary as Colette Sego's second graders.

Why extraordinary? First, there's the warm greeting that every visitor gets when they come in the room, including the pizza delivery man. "Good morning Pizza Guy," the students said in unison. "God bless you."

And the goodbye. "Thank you Pizza Guy. God bless you."

But this year has also brought some tough challenges for some of the class. Nicholas has had to nurse a broken wrist and Josh's dad has been off in Iraq.

To boost their spirits through the tough times, the class has had to rely on Lauren Dotson. "She brings us to a closeness with God," said Sego.

A little over a year ago, a tumor was discovered at the base of Lauren's skull.

"First she had cancer and she was all weak in the beginning except we helped her get stronger," said classmate Brad Stewart.

"When she was in the hospital, we made cards and stuff for her to do on the cards," said classmate Matt Bartholomew.

"Lauren is like a regular person sometimes, sometimes she loses her balance but we help her back up," added classmate Sellers Williamson.

At first Lauren was in a wheelchair, then she graduated to a walker. Now she drags her helper wannabes behind her.

"She's speedy sometimes," said Sellers.

Sego says she hasn't seen anything like this class in her 38 years of teaching. "I told the children the story of Lauren and the students pitched in and they just took over."

So it's pizza and popcorn for the extraordinary students of Sego's second grade. And by the way, it isn't an end of the year party, it's an end of chemotherapy party. Cause enough for celebration.

Lauren is headed for New York and a carriage ride in Central Park for her summer vacation. She's certainly earned that trip.

Reported by: Craig Harney, charney@wtoc.com

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