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Cancer doesnt keep Osborn student down
Osborn student pic
Osborn student Adham Hamza, a second grader, has an infectious love of life. Recently he was recognized for his attitude and his academic ability. Adham speaks fluent Arabic, English and he is learning Spanish and French. - photo by JONATHAN MCCORKELL / The Journal

If you ever get a chance to meet Adham Hamza it will be hard to forget him. He has that much personality. He has been known to literally talk non-stop for hours and the whole time he will have a smile on his face and unrelenting enthusiasm for wherever his creative mind takes him. 

Adham, a second grade student at Osborn Elementary School in Turlock, is a great example of “Every Student Succeeding.”  For much of his young life Adham has dealt with having a brain tumor. Even after countless surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, the brain tumor and medical procedures are not what defines who Adham is.  The defining characteristics of Adham are boundless enthusiasm, a buoyant personality and a sunny outlook no matter how he feels.

Recently Adham was honored, along with several other area students, by local politicians and leaders during the “Every Student Succeeding” program held in Modesto. Every Student Succeeding honors students who have overcome and succeeded against challenges, have gone beyond expectations and have won the hearts of their teachers and staff. The honor is given by the Association of School Administrators Stanislaus Charter, the County Office of Education, Mosce Credit Union and Gallo Winery.

Communication is of utmost importance to Adham.  He speaks Arabic, is an accomplished English speaker, is currently learning to communicate in Spanish through the Two Way Bilingual Immersion Program at Osborn School, and is being tutored in French at home. And language isn’t even his strongest subject; math is. Adham is full of thoughts and stories that he can’t wait to share with any willing listener regardless of language.

Adham is a “people person” and will engage any willing participant in a lively conversation.  A conversation with Adham may be about his future as a jet pilot or about something funny he heard while listening to National Public Radio with his father, but most often it will be about food.  Food is his great love—whether it is the pizza served every Thursday in the school cafeteria, or the sushi served in one of the family’s favorite restaurants. 

Although he is afflicted with a brain tumor and receives treatments that must be uncomfortable at best, Adham does not view himself as a victim or weak. 

Adham’s parents, Samer and Areeje, are constantly amazed at their son’s zeal for life.

“He really surprises me every day and he comes out of MRI treatments always joking and he has a great attitude for life,” said Areeje.

Simply ask Adham about how is feeling and he will happily flex a muscle or proclaim that he is the fastest runner at school. Adham’s positive attitude is sure to brighten even the dreariest day.    

“Whenever I think of how bad my day or I want to complain, I think of him. He just has a great, amazing attitude,” said Ed Ewing, Osborn principal.

Adham is so well liked on campus that pretty much everyone knows him.

“He just gets along with everyone, even the fifth and sixth graders know him,” explained his teacher Francisco Vega. 

Due to his health, Adham sometimes attends school for half days and receives additional assistance from a Home and Hospital teacher.  Vega and his Home and Hospital teacher, Luis Castro, work for Adham’s academic well-being.  The school health technician and nurse make sure there is clear communication with Adham’s family regarding his physical well-being at school.  Everyone else—students, office staff, teachers, administrators, cafeteria staff, parents, campus supervisors—care for Adham’s social well-being.  And therein lays the joy of Adham Hamza:  his loving nature, his exuberant conversation, and his infectious happiness contribute to the well-being of others as they are caring for him.

Adham is facing very serious health challenges; his brain tumor is a severe condition and has resisted medical treatment. 

“But if the measure of success is to love and be loved, to show kindness toward others, and to have a sunny outlook, Adham Hamza is a stellar example of ‘every student succeeding,’” said Ewing in a speech about Adham for Every Student Succeeding.

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.