For Skyline High School senior Channing Garrett, this year was so much more than a frustrating adjustment to online learning because of COVID-19. It was a year that challenged her like no other, as she lost the two strongest women in her life.
Channing’s mother was a two-time breast cancer survivor, but most importantly, she was a mother, friend, and warrior. Channing vividly recalls the day she first heard the word “cancer,” at age five. “I remember asking my mom ‘why is your hair falling out?’ and that’s when she told me, but I didn’t really get it until later.”
During her senior year, Channing remained a remote learner to care for her mother and grandmother, whose health had also begun to decline. “It was just me, my mom, and my grandma. They took care of me my whole life, so I wanted to pay them back by taking care of them,” Channing said.
Time was of the essence and Channing’s responsibilities quickly grew beyond the student struggles of online learning and a full-time job. “I had to keep up because I didn’t have time to slip,” she said. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to come back if I did.”
Though no one can ever be prepared to lose someone they love, Channing pushed through this trying year and focused on the main goal she knew her mom and grandma wanted to see her achieve more than anything – graduating. While they did not make it to see her walk the stage, she takes some comfort in knowing they would be proud of her.
Channing will graduate with honors from Skyline High School, her mother’s alma mater, this month. She plans to attend PrairieView A&M University and major in Business Administration.
“It feels amazing [to be graduating], because there were definitely moments where I wanted to give up, or felt like I couldn’t do it, but they kept pushing me,” Channing said. “If they were here, I would tell them ‘I did it!’ and they would probably say ‘we already knew you would.’”