NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
December 1, 2020 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204
Fox 11 reporter shares story of perseverance through cancer with South Pointe students
DIAMOND BAR, CA—South Pointe Middle School 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students come together each week on Zoom to check-in and express how they are feeling.
“Our Wellness Wednesdays are an important way to connect with students and give them real-life tools to deal with the challenges they may be experiencing during these difficult times,” said Counselor Chris Sandoval.
A special celebrity guest joined the November 18 virtual discussion.
“Good Day LA” entertainment reporter Amanda Salas shared her inspiring story of perseverance, grit, and gratitude while battling cancer.
Students were ecstatic for the face-to-face meeting with the Fox 11 personality, even joining the online waiting room an hour before the event.
“I’m literally bouncing in my seat!” one girl exclaimed at the opening of the after-school session.
Salas quickly captured the group’s attention while chatting about video games, pop culture, and showing off some fierce Tik Tok dance moves, but quickly segued into a more serious topic, the “Big C”.
“Perseverance is the persistence to do something even when it gets difficult,” Salas defined.
Last year, she was blindsided with a diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“And you think you know all about it until you get hit with it,” she commented.
“Just raise your hand if you’ve had to do something that was difficult,” Salas asked of the group.
Knowing hands immediately shot up in reply.
“I see you, Jasper, Julian, Claire, Hannah, and Steven,” she noted.
Salas had been scared and sad, but thanks to perseverance and listening to her doctors, she never gave up.
She closed the 40-minute discussion by offering some sage advice for students.
“You might think you’re having the worst day – a bad grade on a test, haven’t been able to get outside, or remote learning.”
“Just ask yourself: ‘Is it a rock or pebble day?’” Salas said.
Because some days you walk on rocks and others on pebbles, she explained.
“I promise you that tomorrow is a new day with new possibilities and it will get better - and I’m keeping it 100,” Salas added.
“If I can rock a red carpet interview with a baldhead and get through cancer – you can rock math and English!”
2020 has been a rough year with families still adapting to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Her story was very motivating and inspirational!” shared 6th grader Brianna Alaniz after the session.
“It made me think a lot about living life without worrying,” added schoolmate Shanelle Liu.
The school’s counseling team comprised of Chris Sandoval, Natalie Gray, and Aaron Williams created Wellness Wednesdays at the onset of school closures.
It quickly took off with hundreds of students regularly logging in on topics like discovering small joys, optimism, gratitude, balance, and unity.
“Distance learning has been a challenge for everyone and these conversations mean the world to us,” Sandoval said.
View the Fox 11 news broadcast at: https://www.foxla.com/video/873062.