School rallies around teacher

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Janie Rayes wore raw emotions on her pink sleeve Monday, even after classes ended.

Rayes, a Vidalia Upper Elementary School fifth-grade social studies and math teacher, couldn’t escape the hugs, smiles and pats of support from students — past and present — and co-workers Monday afternoon.

Rayes was diagnosed three weeks ago, for the second time, with breast cancer, and in those three weeks students and staff have offered an abundance of support.

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“I can’t walk down the hall without getting a hug,” Rayes said.

Students have been making cards and writing her letters every day. The girls have been wearing pink ribbons in their hair and the boys pink ribbons on their shirts. Monday they even had a surprise assembly in her honor and everyone in the school wore pink.

“The support from teachers and kids has been overwhelming,” Rayes said.

Rayes will be on medical leave for the next four weeks to receive treatments. She has high hopes that she will make a full recovery and be back to school after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“I told the kids to hold the fort, and I’ll be back,” Rayes said.