Hospital teaching staff helps sick students succeed

Image 1 of 4

A Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital patient's dedication to excellence has landed her a college scholarship.

Christmas Eve just over a year ago, 17-year-old Samantha Lee received the greatest gift of her life: a donor kidney.

Samantha's illness, transplant, and recovery took a toll, and she still misses a lot of classes at her regular school.

So the hospital, where she comes twice a week for follow-up care, has also become her classroom. Thankfully, there is a staff of teachers at Johns Hopkins All Children's. 

"My ultimate goal is to keep that child learning. To bring a piece of normal to a hospital environment," said Alicia Riggs, a member of the hospital's teaching staff.

Samantha's an A student and is driven to succeed. And for her hard work, she earned a $5,000 college scholarship from GameChanger, a charity which awards scholarships to children with life-threatening illnesses.

"I think it is pretty good and very helpful," Samantha added.

"The GameChangers realized her character and her ability to stay focused, and to move ahead and plan ahead," Alicia said.

Samantha, meanwhile, is grateful for the time, patience, and commitment from all the teachers here who helped her.

"I know I wouldn't have been able to go through school without them," Samantha said.

Samantha plans on working in the medical field when she gets out of college.