Mom in hospital sees graduation by video

Posted: Sunday, June 01, 2003

KODIAK (AP) Cancer patient Maria Gonzalez watched her daughter's graduation from her bed in the Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center with the help of students in a high school class.

Gonzalez, whose terminal condition prevented her from attending the sixth-grade graduation for her oldest daughter, Crystal, saw the ceremony on video, thanks to high school students in Clayton Wallace's audio-video production class.

A friend of Gonzales, Evelyn Hulsey, got in touch with Wallace, explained the situation, and asked if his class could help out.

''I told several students a one-line summary of what was going on and they said, 'OK, We'll do it.' They just stepped up to the plate,'' Wallace said.

Four students arrived at East Elementary School to set up the equipment. Others helped to choose music for the background.

The group worked until 2 a.m. putting the video together to get it to Gonzalez as quickly as possible. The tape was delivered to the hospital by 4 a.m. Thursday, the morning after the ceremony.

''We didn't know if she was going to make it through the night,'' Wallace said.

''When Maria saw the film, even with all the pain medication, she just kept saying, 'That's my girl,''' said her friend, Hulsey.

''You cannot imagine how I felt when I got to the graduation service to see these young people giving up their whole afternoon and evening to be part of this,'' Hulsey said. ''It thrilled my soul.''

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