Merkel Middle School students hold seat open for classmate battling childhood cancer


MERKEL, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Merkel Middle School is trying something new this year, dividing 6th through 8th graders into different groups called houses. It’s all to build better relationships with their peers and teachers. One of these groups has a missing piece, but these students are holding the space open.

This circle is like a second home for these students. It’s a safe place to talk about what’s going on in their lives outside of the classroom.

“It’s like a family. Like a little family,” Merkel 8th grader Khali Clark said.

In Mrs. Stephens’ house group, one piece of that family is missing.

“It was like a lot of emotions, like a wave,” Clark said.

“I knew he wouldn’t give up with out a fight,” 8th grader Jayton Jowers said.

Logan Malone is fighting childhood cancer and hasn’t been at school this year.

“They’re very compassionate about that and want to include him,” House Group Teacher Tammi Stephens said.

Many of the students in the group grew up with Logan.

“For some kids they’ve never seen him or never met him,” Mrs. Stephens said.

Whether they know him or are waiting to meet him, each day the students choose to leave a chair empty.

“He’s still here even though he can’t. He’s still here and we still think about him everyday,” Clark said.

“We appreciate him. We hope that he can get well and then he can be back in our group,” Jowers said.

They’re waiting for the day Logan walks through the classroom door and takes his seat.

Mrs. Stephens’ house group is FaceTiming with Logan this week so those who’ve never met him will be introduced.

They expect him to be back soon.

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