This is the first story in a five-part series on local students who overcome tremendous obstacles to become inspirations to those around them.
Jose Morales, a fifth grader at Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy, lives every day to the fullest. But there was a time when his mother Ana, feared he wouldn’t have many days left. Jose never let that fear over take him.
At two years old Jose was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Over the years he has undergone extensive chemotherapy treatments and a stem cell transplant in 2004. Currently, he is in remission.
Throughout his battle with leukemia Jose always remained positive and maintained his faith that things would get better — something he maintains now in health. During the darkest of hours, Ana said he never quit wanting to live life. She recalled that one day after chemotherapy treatment, when Jose was unable to eat due to a mouthful of open sores, she sat by his side and prayed for him. Jose turned to her and said, “Mom you don’t have to pray for me anymore.” Ana said she felt her heart hit the pit of her stomach. She felt that her son was preparing her for his own death, but then he turned to her and said, “You don’t have to pray every day because I pray for us every day.”
Ana has always been moved by his faith and positive outlook — and so have others on the Osborn campus.
Jose was honored last week, along with several other Turlock area students, by local politicians and leaders during the Every Student Succeeding awards 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 and the Stanislaus County Office of Education.
At Osborn Jose is known for his positive demeanor and work ethic. School Health Technician Alicia Miranda praised his attitude.
“He is always so cheery and no matter what he is going through he always comes to school with a smile on his face and a great attitude. This child… he wants to live his life to the fullest each and every day,” she said.
In addition to facing serious illness, Jose’s family has had economic hardships. But no matter what the situation and when times are hard Jose will always say, “Let’s get through today, because tomorrow is a new day.”
“His perseverance and positive attitude is inspiring to all of us,” said his teacher Yolanda Moran.
Jose is a very intelligent student. His primary language was Spanish but by third grade he was reclassified as “fluent English proficient.” He now performs at grade level or advanced on state assessments.
“He always meets my high expectations of him. He has shown interest in becoming a doctor and I think he would be a wonderful doctor,” said Moran.
Jose said he wants to become a doctor so he can help other children. In his free time he likes to draw, read and play with Legos. His favorite subject is math, although he admits it can be hard.