Skyla Strong: School supports student
Second grader Skyla Forcier will not soon forget Friday’s parade at Mountain View Elementary.
Clemson cap on backwards, a smile splashed across her face, classmates screaming her name, the girl who has inspired so many with her courage was honored and celebrated by her friends, family and teachers.
The parade was a send-off for Forcier, who on Saturday, traveled to Charleston for nine days of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. She is diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, and following the transplant she may have to stay in Charleston for 90 days if not more. It has been a battle for the eight-year-old, who prior to this diagnosis had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. However, her parents, Brian and Shannon Forcier, say she has handled everything like a superhero.
“She’s been so strong through this; she hasn’t skipped a beat,” Brian said. “When we’re down she lifts us up. She’s Skyla strong.”
“Her strength is a testimony to every single one of us,” Shannon added. “Everyday she inspires us to be better.”
Skyla is seen as such an inspiration that her classmates dressed as superheroes. As Skyla rode on an ATV around the school, she saw those classmates at the end of the parade, leaping up and down for her. She said it was “really cool,” that all of her friends were gathered together prior to her treatment in Charleston.
“She’s just a good friend,” said classmate Jake Ayers, “that’s why we’re doing this for her.”
“I know she feels like we’re really praying for her,” classmate Luke Anthony said.
The outpouring of support moved teachers and administrators.
“We call this a teachable moment,” kindergarten teacher Cindy Fitts said. “And they need to learn to care about people and compassion and empathy and it’s just really good for them to see that and learn that.”
“The community spirit in this school is just amazing, and I think this is just another example of how the community comes together and helps each other,” principal Jenny Gibson said.
Brian said the community has been incredibly supportive of his daughter.
“It’s an emotional, really great feeling to know we have their support,” he said. “It’s huge. Words can’t express the heartfelt joy I have for the community, the love everybody has around here and what everybody has done for us.”
Though Skyla has been out of school since December, the school has continued to show love to her by sending cards. Within teacher Missy Price’s class, a large stuffed monkey, Cocoa, sits at her desk.
“They take it everywhere they go and they write everyday so she knows what’s going on back and forth,” Fitts said, explaining that the monkey delivers messages to Skyla about goings-on in the classroom.
Though students have enjoyed Cocoa’s presence in the class, nothing beats Skyla. Price said her students were having such a good time on Friday getting to be with her, even if just for a short time.
“They are so excited,” Price said. “They are having a blast. They are all Skyla superheroes today.”
The idea for a parade arose from Skyla’s request to see her class again before she left to receive treatment. It didn’t take long before the rest of the school decided to join the celebration. Around 900 students lined the bus pickup lane behind the school. They held signs, wore purple and orange t-shirts and danced to music as a Greenville County Sheriff’s deputy led a small procession featuring a convertible with Skyla’s sisters and then the ATV with Skyla.
Once the parade was complete, Skyla hopped from the vehicle only to be mobbed by her friends.
Watching her daughter spend a few more moments with her peers, Shannon summed up the afternoon well.
“This is just amazing,” she said, smiling. “Today is just a great, great day.”
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