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Enslen students sing and dance to honor a second-grader fighting cancer

Students at Enslen Elementary School sang and danced to Katy Perry's "Roar" to show support for a second grader afflicted with brain cancer.
Students at Enslen Elementary School sang and danced to Katy Perry's "Roar" to show support for a second grader afflicted with brain cancer.
Kevin McClarty

Enslen Elementary School students in Modesto sang and danced to Katy Perry's "Roar" to honor a second grader from that school who is battling brain cancer, according to The Modesto Bee on Friday. The student, Drew Shank, attended the event with his mother, Sarah Shank, who called the event, "absolutely incredible."

Enslen Principal Kim West said that although Drew has not been able to attend school for most of the school year, that his "school family" has kept him there "in spirit." Out of feeling of helplessness in dealing with Drew's plight, the students, parents and school personnel at Enslen formed the "Drew Crew," which was created to provide Drew with the support that he needed on a continuous basis. Suddenly the Enslen community was empowered and was providing positive, substantive support to the brave second grader. The Katy Perry "Roar" song and dance event was just one of the ways that the Enslen community has been able to provide positive support to Drew and his family.

The teacher whom Drew would have had at Enslen if he were attending daily, Stephanie Orona, still calls Drew's name every day when taking roll. When she calls Drew's name, the students all call out in unison, "Go Giants!" Orona serves as another example of the selfless efforts of the members of the Enslen School community. She does not have to call out Drew's name since he no longer officially is on her roll, but she nevertheless chooses to honor him by calling out his name daily. Orona also made a quilt for Drew at Christmas time adorned with pictures drawn by students to keep Drew warm throughout the winter. Sarah Shank described Orona's efforts this way:

“She’s not responsible for him, but has completely taken responsibility for him."

It is said that there is a silver lining in every cloud. Drew has two silver linings. One is the love and support from his Enslen community. The other is the fact that he will complete his last radiation treatment on Friday and hopes to attend school at Enslen for the last two weeks. It will be one very happy reunion indeed that will uplift the spirits of the students of the entire Enslen community and inspire students to fight, remain strong, and have faith and courage when facing adversity.