TROY — Heywood Elementary administrative assistant Beth Hart was celebrated by school staff and students on Tuesday in support of her fight against breast cancer.
Hart, who will begin a leave of absence later this week for surgery and recovery, was surprised by the school’s entire student body and staff, along with some of Hart’s family, who had gathered to “hide” in the school’s gymnasium Tuesday morning.
As Hart entered the gym — under the ruse of delivering a marker to Principal Maurice Sadler — the group shouted, “We love you Mrs. Hart!”
“It really surprised me; I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Hart said. “In fact, when I started to come in and saw everybody, I just shut the door and thought, ‘No no!’ I’m not very good at hiding my emotions when people are nice to me, so it was quite a shock and I really appreciate it.”
Hart said that while it’s under unfortunate circumstances, she is happy to have such support from those close to her.
“It makes me feel good, but at the same time, it makes me feel kind of sad that people need to do that,” she said. “I prefer to be healthy and doing that for someone else, but right now it’s my turn. Every card I get, or well wish I get … it makes a difference.”
Hart, who has worked at Heywood for the past nine years, said her favorite part of the job is the kids.
“Good, bad, ornery … the ornery ones are my favorites, because I say they have so much more personality than the ones who are good,” Hart said with a laugh. “They’re the ones I see most often in the office. I mean, I love them all, but the ornery ones are my favorite.”
All students, staff and Hart’s family were dressed in matching T-shirts as part of the surprise.
According to PTO president Heather Goodwin, the shirts — 350 in total — were funded by the PTO and designed by Upper Valley Career Center students Chance Goodwin and Brock Copas, seniors in the digital design and print program. The shirts are gray and depict a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon and the words “Heywood’s Got Hart.”
Goodwin said it was the PTO that was also behind the planning of the surprise event itself.
“At the end of the school year last year, Mrs. Hart was diagnosed with breast cancer and because of everything that she does for the school, as far as just being the first person that people see when they come in and handling the day to day business, without her, the PTO wouldn’t be able to get a lot of their paperwork stuff done, so we decided that we wanted to do something special for her,” Goodwin said. “She’s having surgery on Thursday, so we decided now was the perfect time to show her our support.”
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