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WINSTON-SAIEM/FORSYTH COUNTY SCHOOIS GRADUATES
Senior at Parkland defies odds of cancer
BY KIM UNDERWOOD
W1NSTON-SALEM/FORSYTH CXXJNTY SCHOOLS
At Parkland, Alexis Fegan has been a cheerleader and
a co-captain of the volleyball squad. After she learned in
September that she had cancer, she had to sit out the final
two games of the volleyball season.
She didn t want to stop coming to
"I decided to physically go to school
when I didn't have chemo and radia
tion," said Fegan. "I didn't want to let
cancer stop me from finishing out my
high school career."
Fegan attends both Parkland High
School and the Career Center, where
she takes English IV Honors and AP
(advanced-placement) government and
politics. With the help of counselors
and teachers at both schools, she finds a
way to make it all work. As necessary,
she takes time off for treatment and
recovery and then returns to school.
"All of my teachers and counselors
have been helping me, she said.
"She faced the adversity with grace, determination and
unmatched maturity," said Kathryn Hauser, teacher of AP
Literature and English IV Honors at the Career Center.
Hauser also said even when she wasn't able to physi
cally be in class, Fegan was diligent about finding out
what work she needed to do and having the work complet
ed when she did return to class.
"Her sense of responsibility and work ethic was amaz
ing, given the physical demands of her diagnosis," said
Hauser. "Alexis had the rare ability to see beyond her
diagnosis and maintain her academic pursuits of gradua
tion and college acceptance. Cancer did not define her, as
she arrived back in class with a gregarious smile and tri
umphant spirit. Without cancer, Alexis is an excellent stu
dent and young woman; with cancer, Alexis is a remark
able role model."
At Parkland, Fegan serves as a technology assistant.
She works with Mitch Baiada, a technology education
teacher and the school's technology facilitator.
Baida described her as "smart, social, kind, and an
amazing positive spirit."
He knows that it has been a trying process for her, but
she has come through.
"'What an amazing spirit!' sums it up," he said.
People in Fegan's world outside of school have also
been quite supportive. She w<|>rks at the Chick-fil-A on
Peters Creek Parkway in southern, Winston-Salem.
"I love it," she said. "It's the people."
After storeowner Peter Zimmerman learned about her
illness, he organized a
Spirit Night. He had spe
cial T-shirts printed and a
committed a percentage
of sales to help with her
For a time, Fegan was
not able to work. She has
been declared cancer-free
and was able to return to
work about a month ago.
Fegan had synovial
sarcoma. It's a soft-tissue
cancer that is quite rare.
She has had several sur
geries in addition to radi
ation and chemotherapy.
When she first
learned that she had cancer, she found it hard to believe.
High school was supposed to be a time to enjoy life, she
"It's supposed to be the best time of your life, and then
everything flips upside down."
Ultimately, dealing with cancer has taught her a lot.
"It was a wake-up call to enjoy life.. .1 have learned to
really cherish every moment.. .1 have also learned to never
give up," said Fegan.
She also said her oncologist. Dr. Thomas Russell, has
been a big help.
"Going into it I wasn't the most optimistic person. He
gave me a lot of hope that I didn't have in the beginning."
She added the whole process has also strengthened her
faith in God.
One of the funny aspects of it, she mentioned, is her
hair, or lack thereof. Long before cancer came along she
would joke with people about cutting off all of her hair.
After the diagnosis, she didn't wait for the treatments to
cause her to lose her hair. She just went ahead and shaved
"I actually like the look," she said.
Fegan's mother, Vivian, said that her daughter has
always taken a positive approach to life and has always
been strong. When her daughter learned about the cancer,
Vivian Fegan said, "She never had this woe-is-me mental
ity. I think it made her more determined."
Vivian Fegan said that having a daughter who was so
determined has helped her deal with everything. "I am so
very proud of her and how she.has handled everything."
One thing that was particularly hard for her daughter,
Vivian Fegan said, was sitting out the final two games of
the volleyball season.
Fegan has long been quite actiye. She was a cheer
leader for two years. She started playing volleyball in sev-'
enth grade and has played volleyball for Parkland since
her sophomore year.
This season, she was one of three captains on the girls'
Fegan was born in Georgia. Her father, James Fegan,
works for Reynolds American, and his job overseeing
manufacturing machinery brought the family here.
Fegan is an only child. She started school at Ward
Elementary and then went to Clemmons Middle until Flat
Rock Middle opened. During her sophomore year in high
school, she became interested in law and government.
"I want to become an attorney," she said.
She plans to go to Appalachian State University and
major in criminal justice. When she goes, she hopes to
play intramural volleyball and to see how that goes.
"I am ready to get back my old lifestyle," she said.
After college and law school, she can envision work
ing at first as a defense attorney in a practice with a couple
of other attorneys. She pictures herself staying late in her
office becoming as prepared as it's possible to be.
"I want to make the opposition sweat when they see
me walk into the courtroom," she said.
She already spends time examining documents related
to various cases.
"I even read the judges' statement on why they go one
way and not the other," she said.
She definitely imagines herself becoming a judge at
some point. Who knows? Perhaps that path will go as far
as the Supreme Court one day or she could go in another
direction, such as running for office.
"Becoming a lawyer is my stepping stone," she said.
The graduation ceremony for Parkland is scheduled
for Saturday, June 6 in the Lawrence Joel Veterans
Memorial Coliseum Annex.
Triumph over tragedy for Mount Tabor senior
BY KIM UNDERWOOD
WINSTON-SALEM/FORSYTH COUNTY SCHOOLS
As a star running back for Mount Tabor High School,
James Antoine was a target of college recruits. Antoine
has long made the point, though, that he doesn't want to
be known simply as an athlete but as an athlete who is also
a good student. He is also known as someone who cares
about others and who has a winning smile.
"James is an amazing individual," said counselor
Everyone at the school knows him, and he is the sort
of person who will ask teachers how they are doing and
mean it when he does.
"He genuinely cares for others
and he wants to see people suc
ceed," said Daniel.
"I have known James since he
was a freshman in my business^
class," said Kimberly Wilcox, mar
keting education teacher. "On the
first day I met him, 1 thought he had
to be a senior."
That was because of way in
which he carried himself and the I
maturity of his behavior.
"Since that very first day, he
has always been polite, intelligent
and a natural-born leader," said Wilcox. "He has a conta
gious personality that makes even the worst of days seem
okay. He is quick to step up and set positive examples for
his peers as well as work with students who are not reach
ing their potential. He is always willing to help others,
even if it inconveniences himself - a true student athlete
who always puts school first and clearly excelled on the
field as well."
Football coach R. Laymarr Marshall noted that
Antoine was a two-time 1,000-yard rusher, a two-time All
Conference player and an All Region player as a senior. As
a three- year starter, Antoine had more than 40 career
touchdowns and served as team captain as a senior.
"James is an exceptional student athlete and great
young man," said Marshall. "He has a rare combination of
great athlete, exceptional academic prowess, and impecca
ble character. With all of those things going for him he
remains very humble and embraces the notion that he is a
role model to his peers and to generations younger than
At Mount Tabor, Antoine participated in the Teacher
Cadet program, which sends high school students into ele
mentary and middle schools to help teachers as they work
with students. He worked with the students at Jefferson
Elementary School. He enjoys elementary students in part
because they are so funny and so open.
"They will say whatever," Antoine said.
Antoine also said that he loves to smile and laugh, and
that he loves to see others smile and laugh so he does what
he can to make that happen.
Antoine has had much to deal With in his life. He start
ed life in Akron, Ohio where his mother was murdered ten
years ago. He then moved to Winston-Salem to live with
his father, Chris Boston.
These days, Antoine can joke about having to learn to
drink sweet tea and to ask for "soda" rather than "pop."
However at the time, it was rough to make the transition
to a new world while dealing with the loss of his mother.
"It hurt a lot," he said.
He thinks about her every single day and wishes that
she were still here. His father has been a great source of
support, he said.
"His personal story is one of great triumph over per
sonal tragedy," Marshall said. "His father, Chris Boston, is
a rock-solid foundation in his life that has kept him disci
plined and focused while others around him have strayed
from productive paths.
"Since he has been on campus at Mount Tabor High
School, James has served as a leader on and off the field.
He has earned the ultimate respect of his classmates, team
mates, and instructors alike. James is the ultimate com
petitor. He will undoubtedly succeed at whatever he wish
es to put his mind to."
Dartmouth College in New Hampshire is one of the
colleges that recruited Antoine, and it's the one he chooses
to attend. Although his grades are good, he has to get his
scores up on such national tests as the ACT (American
College Test) and SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test). To do
that, he will be attending Phillips Academy in
After he moved to Forsyth County, Antoine went to
Kimberley Park and Old Richmond elementary schools
before going on to Mineral Springs Middle School. He
started playing football in Pop Warner league. He tried
playing basketball along the way but he was a shade too
aggressive and had a tendency to foul out. So he decided
to stick with football. As much fun as playing football is,
Antoine said, he enjoys intellectual pursuits even more.
"I have more fun challenging my mind," he said.
He joked that, rather than being known as James the
Football Player, he would like to be known as James the
He is planning to major in biology with the intention
of pursuing some career in the medical field, perhaps as a
physical therapist or in sports medicine.
One reason he chose Dartmouth is that it is known for
being intellectually rigorous. "I know they will push me,
which is what I want," he said.
The Mount Tabor graduation ceremony is scheduled
for Saturday, June 6 at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial
71m Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education fCMSTE)
NC Mathematics and Science Education Network (NC-MSEN)
2015 Lego Robotics Camp
Join us to build lego Robots, complete with motors and sensorsl Then write
programs and watch it CHOMP, SPIN, ROAR, KICK, LIFT and morelll
For Middle and High School Students (grades
July 20-24, 2015; 8:00a.m.-5:00p.m.
Winston-Salem State University
$150.00 (lunch will be provided each day)
Deadline for enrollment: July IS, 2015
For further Information about the program please refer to the website:
www.wssu.edu/ncmSen and select robotics camp or call 336-750-2996/2995.