Peabody’s Brown Elementary Surprises First Grader with Celebration Following Her Last Cancer Treatment

April 6, 2021

Superintendent Josh Vadala and Brown Elementary School Principal Lauren King are pleased to share that students and staff came together on Monday to celebrate a first grade student’s final day of cancer treatment.

First grade student Harper Reis was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in 2018, and received her last cancer treatment on Sunday, April 4. According to the Mayo Clinic, ALL is a blood and bone marrow cancer, and is the most common type of cancer in children. To learn more, click here.

Today’s celebration, dubbed “Harper’s Happy Day” by teachers and staff, was a surprise for Reis, and included balloons, fun activities, and cancer awareness and survivor goodies.

“We want Harper to look back and remember a celebration of her strength and bravery. Harper has taught us the importance of a positive attitude and has helped us put things into perspective each day,” said Elizabeth Ofilos, Reis’s first grade teacher. “She is our hero.”

“Harper has been so brave and strong throughout all of her treatment since 2018; now it’s time to celebrate her recovery and the end of a long and difficult treatment process,” Nurse Tracy Connolly said.

Principal King, Nurse Connolly, students, Ofilos, and teachers Ingrid Hjerpe and Denise Lemenager came together to take part in the celebration on Monday.

Peabody’s elementary schools transitioned to fully in-person learning last week, and all those who participated in the celebration closely adhered to the district’s public health expectations including mask wearing.

“This is a really happy moment for Harper and it gave us a special opportunity to come together and celebrate as she reaches this milestone. She is a wonderfully positive, vibrant student, and has put forth her best effort each and every day regardless of the challenges she’s faced,” Principal King said.

Harper Reis, a first grade student at Brown Elementary School, was surprised by her classmates and teachers this morning with a celebration recognizing her last day of cancer treatment.

First grade student Harper Reis, far right, was welcomed at school today by her classmates and teachers to kick off a celebration recognizing her last day of cancer treatment.

From left: Natalie Billingsley, first grade student; Keira O’Connell, first grade student; Delanie Billingsley, first grade student; Ingrid Hjerpe, teacher; Denise Lemenager, teacher; Harper Reis, first grade student; and Elizabeth Ofilos, teacher.

First grade teacher Elizabeth Ofilos, left, uses FaceTime to show the mother of Harper Reis, right, a first grade student, the celebration as visitors are not allowed in schools in Peabody at this time due to the pandemic.

A celebration was held today for first grade student Harper Reis, recognizing her last day of cancer treatment. Her classroom was decorated with various balloons to mark the occasion.

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