Central senior recalls victory over cancer

Esteban Serrano, Lead Editor

The day came and went. The day the Class of 2021 envisioned since the day they stepped foot into the school had arrived, and this year, unlike the last, graduation ceremony was as normal as can be. Among the graduating class was Noah Adams, whom the Pep has followed on his journey to beating cancer.

Adams was diagnosed with Ewing-Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer back in the summer of last year. Something that would take him and his senior year for a huge roller coaster ride, given the pandemic and attending countless chemo sessions. For him being able to walk to the stage is monumental, given all he has been through in the past year.

The Pep has been covering Noah for a year as apart of a continuing series on the ongoing journey of the sensational senior. In this closing article, the Pep highlights the year he’s had, a recap, and what he was looking forward to the night of graduation before he received his diploma- something he didn’t lose hope about.

Adams first takes us back to when he fell off the skateboard, and what the beginning of the experience was like. “Back then I didn’t even think I’d have cancer,” he says. “After I hurt my leg, it was definitely different. A big change in pace was definitely the main thing and I couldn’t do everything I wanted and everything I had been planning for senior year. A lot of things had to be put in the back,” he continues.

As his sessions for surgery started to approach, Noah says that afterward, his absence at many events was emphasized more. “I couldn’t really walk and I was just hopping everywhere and sitting in my desk or bed. It was a big change of pace, especially since I was always active,” he says. “To finally going to be able to walk the stage is going to be a big moment.”

Noah has gotten to be on campus a few times this year. It wasn’t ideal for Noah, but he says he has cherished and valued the time he has gotten to spend at the school, saying, “I’ve valued seeing my old teachers and being able to say goodbye to them. Just to get that closure that I never have before.” He continues, “Just being able to be around my peers again, and really relive those moments.”

Adams, however, is still content. “They (his friends) obviously got to be apart of some experiences that I didn’t this year, you know I had the chance to still make memories, and I did. If anything, I am thankful for that.”

Support from the community, and as far as Canada, people have been inspired by his story. Asked may times before, Adams says, “That’s probably the most overwhelming part about this entire journey- it’s not about hearing that I have cancer or hearing that I have to get my leg chopped off, but knowing that I inspired many people, to be willing to show so much support to me and my family. That’s what really hit home so far.”

James Bendele, Science teacher at Central was recently was interviewed by KSAT 12 reporter, Ursula Pari, and said that Noah was, “one of his inspirations.” Noah takes it as a light that even teachers were inspired by his story. “He’s an amazing man and he’s completely selfless. So, to hear him say words like that, it’s a huge honor.” He continues, “I looked up to him, and so for him to return the favor is something I never thought I would hear.”

Around the holidays, Noah got into the Center for the Intrepid at Fort Sam Houston, a state-of-the-art rehab center that helps wounded veterans get back on their feet and heal after terrible incidents during combat. Noah got his way in with the help of some Central Catholic personnel, and the U.S. Army. Adams admits that he didn’t even know the first time he heard about it, how significant it was to be going there. “I’ve had to go in there for the past two or three months, I could clearly see myself getting there faster than most people who have the disease, so, I can’t say nothing but thanks to Captain Rhodes and (former President) Paul Garro for making this happen.”

“It’s really nice to talk to people who have above-the-knee, below-the-knee arm amputations and hear their different experiences,” Adams continues. “Since it’s a military institution, you hear a lot of the war stories. And even if you’re not a veteran, you have something in common with them, since we all had an amputee of some sort.”

Noah got to ring the bell, signifying that he had beat cancer. His mother, Debi Harper, hosted a live Zoom broadcast with plenty of people watching. Some students were even watching from the classroom! I was fortunate enough to be present as he rang the bell. “It gave me like a true sense of clarity,” Adams says. “It was just a big relief. I described it as when they take the world off of Atlas’s shoulders. It was like that, except I have never had to put the world back on my shoulders.”

Adams has also been apart of blood drives and toy drives throughout the last year. He had his story promoted in a bunch of different ways through these events, and Adams says, “That was the bare minimum,” he starts. “Walking in to do chemotherapy and seeing all these kids, be affected by all these different things, I wanted to find a way to help give back. And since COVID was a thing and I really couldn’t talk to them, I figured, why not give them some gifts. Just something to brighten up their day. A lot of those kids are not eighteen, they are zero to twelve. They’re quite young so it felt good knowing I could give back to the people that helped me and to kids that are going through that.”

Then comes May, down to the last month of being a Central student. Knowing that his journey was about to end, Adams says, “Just a big thank you for the support and thank you to all the teachers that have guided me the past couple of years, and final thank you to all the peers and classmates that helped make this such a great experience at the school for the past four years.” In the final few weeks of being at Central, Noah has been able to walk with his prosthetic, and hang out with people. “I feel like a growing young adult again, unlike having to be watched like a kid by my parents because I couldn’t walk,” Noah said.

Looking ahead, Noah is attending the University of Pittsburgh, where he will be majoring in clinical developmental psychology. Adams says the one thing he is looking forward to when he goes up there is the “whole new culture, new people, and a fresh start.”

Looking back deeper into the four years he spent at Central, Noah was asked about a favorite memory. He says, “I don’t think there’s one big one, but Section R as a whole. It was like a whole big party for all of us. Just the chance for all the boys to connect and be stupid with one another, without having to worry about teachers and stuff like that.” He was then asked if he wanted to say anything to fellow students, teachers, and administration, he had this to say, “Thank you Mr. Bendele, for being a great teacher and thank you to Dr. B. He’s been one of the teachers that has reached out constantly and made sure I was okay during the past eight months… Thank you CPT Rhodes and SGT Bradford, it’s just been a real pleasure for the past four years… My whole class, they have all reached out in some way, shape or form, and they’ve all affected me and made me who I am today.”

Adams has officially received his diploma from Central Catholic High School, and is now a Central Alumnae. Noah’s story has continued to inspire people over the past year, and will hopefully continue to inspire others to be positive and push with all their potential. On behalf of the Pep, we say Congratulations Noah, Class of 2021!

Via @NoahStrongtx on Instagram
Photo provided by Debi Harper
Photo provided by Debi Harper
Mr. Cassler
Mr. Cassler
Mr. Cassler
Mr. Cassler
Mr. Cassler
Mr. Cassler