By Tommy Douglass
Teacher Audrey Wright returned to McMinnville High School this fall after taking a year off of teaching due to breast cancer. Wright is teaching 2 periods of AP Psychology and four periods of freshman biology. While she has three more rounds of chemo, Wright has been cancer free since February.
“I found the lump on July 31st and had a doctor’s appointment the very next day, July 31st of 2015, so it’s been about a year now,” Wright said. Having cancer isn’t easy, especially in Wright’s case with a young son. When asked what was the hardest part dealing with cancer Wright said, “I have a 2 and a half year old and just the thought that I might not be around for him, I’ve been putting videos on YouTube so he could still remember us together.”
Wright’s presence was missed last year at MHS, and so students and staff bonded together to help out in any way possible. During last football season, pink shirts with Wright’s name were handed out to students at the game supporting a pink out. Junior Alli Robertson sold ribbons and raised money to donate to Wright. Robertson said, “she was really appreciative of the money.”
Throughout her battle Wright has managed to look towards the joyful things in life to keep her going. Wright said, “everyday I hurt less,” which is very encouraging to her. Wright also said that the thought of family was very important in keeping her spirits up. She missed teaching saying, “I miss the students.”
Wright has stepped right back into teaching without missing a stride. Sophomore Angela Tiskus, who is currently enrolled in Wright’s AP Psychology class, said, “coming into her class is the highlight of my day.” Robertson spoke fondly of her as having a very good personality describing her as, “really bubbly.”
While Wright’s family was a beacon of light from her during her hardest time, she continues to be a beacon of light for her students today. “It’s nice to have a quirky teacher that genuinely cares about us,” Tiskus said. Both Tiskus and Robertson continuously painted a picture of Wright as a loving and caring individual. Tiskus went on to say “her class is like a little happy family.”
While her cancer is gone and she is seeing improvement every day, it’s still not easy for Wright. She said, “Physically, I’m still recovering from Chemo, so standing and talking all day is difficult.” Wright also has an agenda of activities she wants to do as she recovers. “I want to travel, and to volunteer. I want to give back,” Wright said.
Wright continues to leave her legacy on MHS every day. “Hold on to things that bring value to you and let go of everything else,” Wright said.
With the fast pace of life it is easy to lose sight of your priorities. For many, life seems long and tedious but Wright has learned to seek joy out of every day and cherish those around her. “I don’t give any consideration to the little things,” Wright said.