ROCKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – With high school graduations right around the corner, the valedictorian of Oceanside High School has given new meaning to what it means to be top of your class.
18-year-old Emily Davis was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in November—a time when most high school seniors are preparing for their future.
"I was thinking about college applications and getting through my senior year and I was diagnosed and everything kind of stopped in place,” Emily Davis said.
Except Davis did not let it get her down. She continued with her rigorous course load, including several AP courses, all while going through chemotherapy.
“Everything happened really quickly,” she said. "I just sort of tried to keep that going and keep my grades as high as possible."
Davis missed upwards of 50 days of school. She credited her teachers, principal and guidance counselor for supporting her along the way.
"The encouragement from everyone at school and family and friends helped a lot,” she said.
"She was so calm and determined,” guidance counselor Rachele Hartley said. "We really had to tell her ‘You know you have to slow down, you have to focus on your health,’ but she has that drive that she just wanted to keep going."
Davis was so determined that although she had to put some of her involvement in extracurricular activities on hold, she picked them right back up in the spring. Her biggest commitments were Bikes for Boats, a project that provides bikes to youth in need, and the school paper she helped start.
Now in remission, she was able to start swimming again and even went to prom.
“There's no way to really know how you're going to react to a situation unless you're in it yourself,” Davis said. “I guess in that way I proved to myself that I could get through it."
She is set to speak at the school’s graduation on June 6. She plans to stay and Maine and will be attending Bowdoin College in the fall.