Klein Forest Unites Staff Affected by Cancer with ‘Not Alone’ Breakfast
With over a dozen staff members experiencing the rough diagnosis of cancer recently, administration at Klein Forest created an event — the ‘Not Alone’ Breakfast — where their “KF Family” could come together in show of support for one another.
“When I was 11, my mom died of cancer and my dad is battling prostate cancer right now,” Klein Forest Principal Lance Alexander said. “I think every one of us has experienced cancer affecting someone close to us.”
With over 400 employees in the school, this breakfast connected the staff members who are fighting the same battle and reinforced the strong belief in family and community at Klein Forest.
“This is not my school, it’s our school,” Mr. Alexander said. “Teachers have the hardest job in America right now. They show up to work every day despite what they’re going through and they make sure they give our kids a chance at life. They do it under extreme circumstances because they have a true servant’s heart. They need to be honored, prayed for, and reminded that they are not alone.”
For faculty members like CTE Manufacturing teacher William Walker, who is battling Stage 4 liver and pancreatic cancer, this breakfast is just one more way Klein Forest has shown love to him.
“Klein Forest and the CTE team is really a family. I was a machinist for over 20 years and as a new teacher coming from an entirely different work background, I wasn’t used to the culture here. Administration is always walking around and checking in on you. Lance would come on the intercom and say ‘we love you’ and I was a little standoffish. Now, I get it.”
Mr. Walker was diagnosed with cancer in October of 2021 and, since then, has experienced what he calls “a total miracle” with his tumor numbers dropping from 2,400 to 95.
“I have been doing chemotherapy, some radiation, and a lot of praying,” Mr. Walker said. “I try to come to work everyday. I’ve always been that type of person. After my treatments, I would be extremely tired. During lunch, Mrs. Roberson, the PreSchool teacher, would give me a preschool mat and a couple pillows so that I could lay down. Eventually, the engineering group brought me a futon. Other teachers would take my class and administration would allow me to lay down and rest when I needed to. I have never worked for a place that would do that for their employees.”
This same care and love is exactly what has kept another teacher and prostate cancer survivor, Senior Master Sergeant William Hardy, as an AFJROTC instructor at Klein Forest for a good portion of his 22-year career.
“Love permeates this school. Every day, I start my day hearing the principal on the announcements telling us how he loves us and the kids,” Senior Master Sergeant Hardy said. “That goes a long way because a lot of people don’t get a chance to hear those words, especially when you’re battling something by yourself and it’s one of those taboos you don’t talk about. You get a chance to know that you’re loved here. For a principal to recognize and address an issue in his school along with the way he loves the people means so much to me.”
Principal Alexander planned and coordinated the ‘Not Alone’ breakfast with Senior Master Sergeant Hardy along with many other staff members and they hope that other campuses will do something similar for their staff to show what Klein Family is all about.
“I’m hoping that not only do we do this on this campus, but every campus in this district,” SMSgt Hardy said. “I want to see it go even further than that. I just believe that when you know you’re loved, you come to work and enjoy it more. If we, as adults, can enjoy this work, we can do more for our kids.”
As for Mr. William Walker, Klein Forest has been a place of support unlike anywhere else and he is always one of the first to show his gratitude.
“Thank you to everyone who has helped me this far — especially to my wife, who is my rock, and my KF family. There is no way I would have ever made it to this point without them. The good Lord isn’t done with me yet.”
In Memory of William Walker, Jr.
October 2, 1972-August 27, 2022
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