Ambulance sirens were blaring as beautifully decorated trucks approached Hudson Pep Elementary School winding drive way. Several Longview fire trucks blasting their horns intermittently were following closely behind as in a triumphant parade. Suddenly, pink fire trucks made their entrance from behind the trees. The event was a surprise, show-stopper for two teachers, Leslie Konvalin, Sharon Jenkins and one cafeteria staff, Jennifer Mathis who are battling cancer.
The pink trucks came to show their support for the three women. Thomas Cash, one of the firefighters has a special reason for coming. “I am doing this to support these women,” he said. “I lost my wife to cancer.” Brittany Down a Champion EMS personnel said, “I like to see the surprise on their faces.” Leslie Konvalin called it “amazing.” “This is the best medicine for this fight. I am just so amazed.” Sharon Jenkins was moved to tears because of the surprise. “I had no idea, I thought we were coming out for something else,” she said. “I am just so surprised.” Jennifer Mathis was dumbfounded. “This is so unexpected,” she said. “I do not know what to say. But, I am grateful for all this.”
Hudson Pep besides being an exemplary campus consistently engages in altruism. The campus enjoys great parental support. For example, one parent bankrolled all the t-shirts for the above event. When a student sees a need in the community, they bring it to the principal, Ms. Sue Wilson. Soon, everyone on campus is involved in solving the problem or need. According to Wilson, her campus is a close knit family. It was not hard for them to organize a surprise for the three women. Moreover, they kept it a secret. One student said, “It was a hard secret to keep but we did, because it is supposed to be a surprise. You do not want to mess it up.”
Wilson attributes campus success to trust, hard work, strong character education, parental support, master teachers who love students and what they do; innovative teaching methods, and high expectations for everyone.
Story and photos by Joycelyne Fadojutimi