Marking the Milestone, Celebrating the Achievement: MSK Kids Hosts 15th Annual Pediatric Convocation

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MSK leadership applauding for graduates

MSK leadership joined MSK Kids faculty and staff to fete the graduates.

For the 15th year, MSK honored the academic achievements of our youngest patients by hosting MSK Kids Convocation - a virtual ceremony to help mark and celebrate the end of their adolescent school years.

Almost 40 current and former patients joined the Zoom celebration along with hospital leadership and MSK Kids faculty and staff. Graduates, some of whom dialed in from across the country, enjoyed the singing talent of one fellow graduate, heard words of encouragement from another, and were presented with awards for academic and extracurricular achievement.

“You all inspire us, motivate us, and fill our hearts with pride,” said Craig B. Thompson, MD, MSK’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

MSK Kids Convocation has been a beloved event across MSK since its inception in 2007. This year, almost 80 current and former patients are graduating from high school or receiving their equivalency. While some graduates are still receiving care for their cancer or blood disorder, many graduates have completed treatment.

Convocation is organized by MSK Kids staff and hosted in coordination with the New York City Department of Education Hospital Schools program. MSK treatment teams consider schooling to be both necessary and therapeutic for pediatric patients, and full-time teachers play an active role in facilitating this important part of the comprehensive care MSK provides. For children and teens, school signifies a continuation of normal life, and allows them to keep up with their peers.

“Everything we do is about getting you healthy and back to a normal life,” said Paul A. Meyers, MD, Chief of the Pediatric Sarcoma Service and Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Pediatrics. “And for you to share this important milestone with us is an affirmation and validation…we are so grateful.”

Convocation is meaningful to not only the graduates and their families, but also to their MSK doctors, nurses, and other MSK Kids staff who have taken care of them throughout the years.

“Determination and perseverance are life skills that were thrust upon you, perhaps unwelcomingly, but these are skills you will use to address other life challenges,” said Andrew Kung, MD, PhD, Chair of MSK’s Department of Pediatrics. “I hope these final weeks of high school bring the fun activities you deserve to enjoy safely and in good health, and whether you are headed for a college campus, a new job, a journey to some other place, or another adventure, we have confidence in your motivation, your aspiration, and the bright future ahead of you.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

Watch this clip from News 12 Connecticut featuring a 2021 graduate.