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Hospitalized grad participates in ceremony from afar

By Jade DeGood, jdegood@kwch.com
Published On: May 18 2014 08:26:12 PM CDT
Updated On: May 18 2014 10:24:03 PM CDT

It wasn't the way she expected to walk across the stage. In fact, nothing was going quite like she expected the last week before high school graduation.

Rachel Arndt complained about headaches and vomiting to her mom Tracey and dad Larry. They thought medicine would make her feel better, but then noticed something just wasn't right. That's when they took Rachel to the hospital.

Rachel was then life-flighted to KU Med Center in Kansas City. Doctors said she had a brain aneurism that led to bleeding in her skull. Two days later she was prepping for surgery.

"It broke my heart when I found out what she was facing," said Andover Central High School Principal Cheryl Hochhalter. "When Kathy Davis of KU Med Center called to ask what are plans were [for Rachel's graduation], we were already trying to figure out if we were going to do a Google Hangout, or stream it or put it up on YouTube, so Rachel could be a part of it."

That brings us to Sunday, May 18th. With iPad in hand, one of Rachel's teachers, Rita Frakes, is able to take the hospitalized grad through the graduation ceremony. Rachel, in her black cap and gown hundreds of miles away, waved to her fellow seniors before her teacher accepted her diploma for her.

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