Supporting a well-loved teacher at Patrick Henry Middle School

Positively KELOLAND

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Saturday brought the annual Avera Race Against Cancer, and though it was virtual this year, many still came together at Patrick Henry Middle School to walk for one of their own.

Even in the rain, students wanted to support one of their teachers as she battles cancer.

“Because she’s just such a great teacher,” 6th grader Kinsey Lovrien said.

“And because no family should have to go through this alone,” 6th grader Taylor Aabergbruggeman said.

They wanted to show up for someone who is always there for them.

“Mrs. Jacobson is a really, really nice teacher. She’s always very supportive,” 6th grader Phoebe Veerman said.

“She makes sure that we’re doing well and staying on track with everything because that’s what she’s here for and that’s why we want to give back to her,” 6th grader Oliver Holt said.

Trecia Jacobson is a health and physical education teacher at Patrick Henry. The day before Thanksgiving she got the unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer.

“I spent five months in chemotherapy, all the while working full-time here at Patrick Henry,” Jacobson said. “My last chemo session was last Wednesday and I have my first of three surgeries on May 26th.”

Jacobson with her family after her last round of chemo. Photo courtesy of the Sioux Falls School District.

From posters in the hallways to walking in the rain, Jacobson’s students and co-workers have been right beside her through it all.

“I had no idea I had this many tears in my body. It’s been a very emotional journey,” she said. “The idea that you can have a group of middle school students and they show this much compassion and empathy is amazing and heartwarming.”

Jacobson isn’t the only teacher who has felt that love from this school. Karen Kayl, who teaches reading intervention classes, is a 12-year breast cancer survivor herself.

“No one fights alone, and that’s just our theme this year that we have to rally behind each other,” Kayl said. “And it was the support of the amazing staff here, along with my family and friends. And it continues to be emotional because it’s so powerful to know that you have people supporting you and get you through a really tough time.”

Katie Sonnichsen is a childhood survivor of leukemia. She attended Patrick Henry and now works here.

“Just never give up,” Sonnichsen said. “Know that you’re not alone and if the bad days come, let them come. But know that the rainbow will come out.”

Jacobson’s daughter was also out walking today. After her mom’s diagnosis, she decided to take preventative measures.

So I had my double mastectomy February 15th. I’m absolutely amazed that people can handle that after chemo, it’s the most difficult think I’ve ever had to experience, it really was.

Jensyn Rickenbach, Jacobson’s daughter

She says she is inspired by her mom.

She still goes to work everyday with this and I have a cold and I don’t want to, you know. But she’s so strong and she just comes and she’s inspired all these kids and they’re all here for her and it’s just absolutely amazing.


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