TORRINGTON – It started as a single voice, quickly growing to a joyous roar of ‘Bailey! Bailey!’ which filled the auditorium early Friday at Torrington High School.
With tears in her eyes and a big smile, 18-year-old Bailey Williams walked a gauntlet of her schoolmates as she returned to classes for only the second day in more than two months last week. She’d spent the intervening time since mid-October of last year recovering from surgery to replace her failing heart.
Bailey was born with hypoplast left heart syndrome, where the left half of the heart doesn’t develop correctly, placing all the burden of circulating blood through the lungs and to the rest of the body on just half of the heart. This was the second heart transplant surgery in her young life, the first coming when she was just three months old, her mother Tish said.
When staff at the high school learned Bailey was planning to return to class for the second semester of her senior year, they immediately went into action, planning a special celebration in her honor. Cedric Cooper, principal at Torrington High School, and Michele Ogburn, a social worker at the school who’s worked closely with Bailey and her family, decided something had to be done.
“She’s always been a positive person,” Cooper said. “We need that in our school. We wanted her to feel special and welcome her back.”
Members of the THS student council quickly jumped on board, organizing the tunnel of students, which greeted Bailey as she walked into the cavernous hall just off the high school commons. Another group stood on the stage at the front of the auditorium, holding a sign reading ‘Welcome Back Bailey! You’re Our Hero!’
For the complete article see the 01-11-2017 issue.
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