Liberty High senior honored for passion, determination to succeed while fighting cancer

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One graduating senior from Liberty High School was honored Thursday for her passion and determination, along with overcoming adversity while maintaining stellar grades.

Cassidy Hoeckendorf will graduate from high school in less than two weeks. She’s a scholar-athlete who represents her school on the CCSD’s student advisory committee, and she accomplished all of her achievements while fighting cancer.

As an honor student, Hoeckendorf is a standout cheerleader with a 4.2  GPA.

Those are accolades that are impressive for any student, but even more remarkable Hoeckendorf was able to maintain her grades after being diagnosed with cancer. 

“I was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma in July of last summer and I started treatment in September, so I had to miss the whole first quarter of school,” Hoeckendorf said.

Hoeckendorf received treatment at UCLA, but she didn’t let that keep her from what was important: Her school work.  Hoeckendorf emailed her teachers every day to maintain her studies, and she was even able to keep up with homework. 

This wasn’t the first time Hoeckendorf has faced cancer in her life.  At just one month old she was diagnosed with liver cancer.

“I don’t remember the first cancer, so kind of this is my first time experiencing it,” Hoeckendorf  said. “My mom and my family; it’s their second time.  It’s just overwhelming to have to deal with it again.”

As of right now, Hoeckendorf  is cancer free.  She says her experience has influenced her goals for the future.  

“I just want to have a successful career and graduate and go to college,” she said. “I actually want to become a child life specialist which is helping cancer kids in hospitals, so that also motivated me to keep my GPA up so I can have a successful career in that.” 

Hoeckendorf  has a message for other kids facing challenges. 

“It’s ok to fall down, but what’s important is getting back up and knowing how to push through and knowing that it’s going to be ok and that you will conquer anything that comes at you,” Hoeckendorf said.

Hoeckendorf plans on conquering college next, as she has enrolled in the University of Nevada at Reno for the fall semester. 

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