Just months after transferring to her new post at Public School 22 on Staten Island, fourth grade teacher Adriana Lopez received devastating news, a cancer diagnosis. Surgery and several rounds of chemotherapy couldn’t keep this dedicated teacher out of the classroom for long. As she told the Today Show, “Going to work does help because it keeps you busy, and no one keeps you busier than 25 kids in a class.”
Despite being a modest school in a far-flung corner of New York City, PS 22 is actually quite well-known thanks to its fifth grade chorus. It was started by Gregg Breinburg in 2000 and successive classes of fifth graders have appeared on radio and television as well as along side just about every contemporary music superstar you can think of.
As a show of support and gratitude for Adriana, the chorus treated her to an after-school performance of Martina McBride’s “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” a song about a woman who successfully fights cancer. Before the singing began, Gregg told Adriana, “This year we thought it would be a little extra-special since we are so inspired by your fighting spirit that we wanted to give something back to you.” After the heartfelt performance, a tearful Adriana told the kids, “I want to thank you for this special moment. It’s not easy, but I will get through it because I have wonderful friends at this school.”
Gregg later explained: “It was kind of a personal thing that we did, for us and for her. It was like a give-back moment. This was something we wanted to do for her and it blew up beyond expectations. When you least expect great things to happen, that’s when they do. I’m just so happy that she’s at the center of this, and she’s getting love and messages of support from all these people.”
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