Achievement Story: October, East Middle School
By Miranda Galvin, Teacher, East Middle School
Sioux City, Iowa – Many people assume October’s name comes from the month of her birthday, but she is actually named after a character from the movie “Stay Alive” – which has turned out to be the perfect synopsis of her life. After overcoming a lifelong series of medical obstacles, October, or Tobe as she is known to her friends, is having the best year of her life this year at East Middle.
October was having a wonderful year, hopping, skipping, and jumping her way through 1st grade with Mrs. Bush and her classmates at Spaulding Park Environmental Sciences Elementary School. She went to have her trach removed and the hospital lost her airway during surgery. October went twenty-one minutes without oxygen. As a result, she developed Cerebral Pasly from the brain injury. October had to relearn how to do the most basic functions including lifting her head, rolling over, and swallowing. She also lost the ability to speak, sit and walk. She spent a year at Madonna Rehab and missed her second and third-grade years at school. Through it all, October never lost her grit and determination.
With her bubbly and positive personality, October can light up any room she enters. October is unable to smile on command, so her beautiful smile and laugh are genuine and sincere. She always puts the needs of others first, living out the late Dr. Rogers’s motto each and every day. As a non-speaking individual, firecracker Tobe has not only created her own sign language, she also uses her iPad to converse with her friends and give speeches in class. She was Betty the Cook in East Middle School’s presentation of Matilda Jr last spring.
Cooking, shopping, arts and crafts, and cheering her friends on at sporting events fill her social calendar outside of the school day. Tobe is working to overcome her anxiety of overly loud environments. Trying new things has always made her nervous, but she continues to push through, complete with running for and being voted in by her peers as one of the student council presidents.
When asked, Tobe says her favorite thing about school is hanging out with her peers, especially creating art with them. Last year, Tobe’s “only rain in the drain” design was selected to be painted by a group of eighth grade artists on a street drain on the campus of East Middle School.
As Tobe’s teacher, I continue to be most amazed by her great strides to regain her ability to walk and dance. She has given a 110% effort every day since we first met five years ago.