Education News

Cancer patient keeps learning through online classes

Monday, October 04, 2010

THERE'S A PROGRAM THAT HELPS CHILDREN WHO ARE TOO SICK TO ATTEND SCHOOL, STILL GET AN EDUCATION. IT PROVIDES LESSON ONLINE that they CAN FOLLOW, even WHILE they are IN THE HOSPITAL.

FOR KATHERINE FREGA, HER BATTLE WITH CANCER HAS NOT CHANGED HER LOVE OF LEARNING. "I've always been a diligent worker and always had my homework done and always performed well, so performing well gets me motivated, really," she said.

SHE NEEDS TO STAY CLOSE TO HACKENSACK UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER FOR TREATMENT OF HODGKINS LYMPHOMA. BUT ACCORDING TO HER MOTHER, TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS THE HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR TO KEEP UP WITH HER STUDIES. "We felt like she was&going to be falling behind, but this was...[it has] been a tremendous opportunity for her to get that hands-on experience," said Christina Fraga.

KATHERINE TOOK A LIVE ONLINE BIOLOGY CLASS WAS WITH AN INSTRUCTOR AT THE NEW YORK HALL OF SCIENCE IN QUEENS. IT WAS A LESSON IN DISSECTION SO EFFECTIVE, SHE FELT AS IF SHE WAS ACTUALLY IN A CLASSROOM. "I was able to see what he was doing and also talk to him, so it was really, really cool...like...something that...it was like having a teacher right there and being in a classroom," she said.

THE INSTRUCTOR IS ANTHONY NEGRON. CHRIS LAWRENCE HANDLES THE MUSEUM'S OUTREACH TO STUDENTS. The NEW YORK HALL OF SCIENCE PROVIDES WEB-BASED LEARNING FOR ALL KINDS OF STUDENTS.

"I think it's deeply valuable; both to keep them connected to learning and to their education, as well as to keep them connected to people and to the world," he said.

THE LESSONS FOR STUDENTS LIKE KATHERINE ARE ARRANGED THROUGH THE LIVING THROUGH LEARNING FOUNDATION. "It became clear that technology was going to be a way to change the landscape for children with chronic health conditions," according to the foundation's David Gordon.

DOCTORS SAY KATHERINE'S CONDITION IS VERY TREATABLE. SHE IMAGINES A FUTURE FOR HERSELF IN MEDICINE, BUT NOT AS A PATIENT.

"I do want to study pre-med and something in the sciences," Katherine said. "I'm really interested, yes."

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