Classmates Throw Prom, Graduation for Texas Student With Brain Cancer
The official senior prom at Houston's Carnegie Vanguard High School is not scheduled to take place until next Saturday, but one student has already had the prom of her life thanks to her classmates.
Kennedy Brown is a 15-year-old freshman at Carnegie Vanguard who has been battling brain cancer for over two years. When an inoperable regrowth of her brain tumor forced Kennedy to stop attending school, her friends stepped in to make sure she experienced every high school memory in one day.
That day was Monday, just barely 48 hours after planning began during a Friday brainstorming session among Kennedy's friends.
"The students came to school on Saturday to help plan and our faculty and staff reached out to different organizations to help," Carnegie Vanguard's principal, Ramon Moss, told GoodMorningAmerica.com.
One of those organizations was Kennedy's favorite NBA team, the hometown Houston Rockets, who sent their mascot, Clutch, to the school Monday to surprise Kennedy with a t-shirt and gifts from the team's star player Dwight Howard.
Clutch surprised Kennedy at a school-wide assembly held in the school's outdoor amphitheater because so many of her nearly 600 classmates wanted to attend.
"CVHS is, more than anything, a family," Moss said. "Anything that's going to brighten Kennedy's day, we all want to be a part of."
After incorporating into the assembly school traditions that happen throughout the year - like throwing a pie in a teacher's face - a smaller group of Kennedy's friends escorted her to the school's Fine Arts building where she was serenaded, asked to prom and crowned with a sash as the prom queen, before breaking into the usual prom activity of dancing.
"Up until Monday she had really been out of it, she slept for probably 20 hours on Friday and 20 hours on Saturday," said Kennedy's father, Tony Brown. "On Monday morning she woke up with a burst of energy and with an appetite and just so excited to go."
The culminating activity for the day was a graduation ceremony for Kennedy, during which she was wheeled onto the stage in the school's theater and handed her diploma.
"I'm very proud to report that she has 5 A's and 7 B's," said Moss, who noted Kennedy is taking nearly all pre-Advanced Placement and Advanced Placement courses as a freshman.
"Not once did she complain and she never wanted to be treated any differently than any of the other kids," said Kennedy's father. "It was a shock to many of the kids that she had been going through treatment."
Thanks to the generosity of Kennedy's classmates, whom Moss describes as "spectacular," in creating her high school memories, another dream of Kennedy's is now closer to coming true.
The teenager is a huge fan of the singer Drake, such that one of her prom pictures from Monday includes Drake's photo as the backdrop.
"That was one of her favorite moments," said Brown. "Just the fact that they put this life-sized picture next to her was exciting and you could see the smile on her face."
Kennedy's classmates asked everyone to tweet Drake using the hashtag #DrakeForKen and now, according to Moss, the singer has heard them.
"We hear that word has reached Drake and he plans to record a personalized video so we're hoping that takes place today," Moss said.
"I was so proud that the students really pulled all this together in really a matter of hours," he said. "We always do things to the best of our availabilities at CVHS and I'm just honored to be a part of our family."