Teen battling cancer, thanks community for support

Credit: Ryan Hilliard/KTVB

Teen battling cancer, thanks community for support

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by KTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on May 24, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 3:45 PM

BOISE -- A Boise teen battling cancer will now walk in Timberline High School's graduation next week, after school district officials originally told her, she couldn’t.

That's was the decision Thursday afternoon from Boise School District administration.
Around the same time, members of the community gathered in front of Timberline High School to show support for senior Haylee Winters and hope the district would come forward with a different outcome.

“To take away the dream of walking down the aisle with her peers, is something that nobody should be able to do,” said supporter Stephen Fetter.

KTVB first brought light to Haylee's battle with the school during our newscast Wednesday evening.  Haylee recently finished a year of intense chemotherapy for a cancerous brain tumor, and is just four elective credits shy of graduating.

Haylee was just 14 when the tumor was found attacking her body, ever since, she has been fighting for her life.

“She has fought for her life and she still does and she got behind because she has a disease, a cancer tumor…how can they hold that against her?” said Jackee Winters.

School district officials told KTVB it is against their policy to let any student who is short of the required credits walk in the graduation ceremony.

However after our story aired on Channel 7, there was a huge public outcry over the decision.  An overwhelming majority of the viewer calls and comments to KTVB are in support of letting Haylee walk at the ceremony.

Around 1 p.m. Thursday, Haylee and her mother walked into the administrative offices at Timberline High School to discuss the matter with school officials.  About 20 minutes later they came out with smiles on their faces and Haylee was carrying her cap and gown.

“I am so blessed to have all the community behind me. I didn’t know it was going to erupt like it did especially amongst my peers here,” said Haylee Winters. “A lot of them were behind me telling me

I deserve to walk and I am just grateful to have such a great community behind me in all of this.”
The Boise School District did not want to go on camera but released this statement:

After reviewing Haylee Winters' request to participate in the Timberline High School graduation ceremony, Boise School District Superintendent Don Coberly issued this statement:

"School officials work closely with each student in the District to see that they are given every opportunity to graduate on time with their class. In this case, Timberline staff and administration developed a modified plan(in February) tailored to the student's medical condition and needs. We sincerely hope that Haylee will complete the credits necessary to receive her diploma, whether prior to the graduation ceremony or thereafter.

That aside, I have determined that this is a unique situation, and therefore, in consultation with the Timberline administration, we have decided to provide the opportunity for Haylee Winters to participate in graduation ceremonies on Wednesday, May 30."

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