The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Haight returns from illness

Teacher Jeff Haight

Kathleen McAleese
Managing Editor

Cancer has managed to touch the lives of so many people in our community, and most students know someone affected by the disease. Cancer does not discriminate between aunts, uncles, parents, siblings, or in the case of Westford Academy, a favorite teacher.

Jeff Haight has taught at  WA for 35 years and will be retiring at the end of this coming school year, along with his wife, who teaches kindergarten at Robinson.

Beloved teacher Haight, as many upperclassmen know, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma last winter but is now back in school teaching.

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma has a 90-95% cure rate, and after six sessions of chemotherapy, each being three weeks apart, Haight was able to progress into remission. Affected by his intensive treatment, Haight  lost some feeling in his fingers and toes, but is slowly regaining his senses.

“The doctors said if my scan is clean in January, then I can go and live my life,” said Haight.

Another effect of his treatment at Mass General Hospital is that he lost some endurance. Forced to live a more laid-back and restful life while he was sick, Haight lost muscle, but is slowly regaining his abilities.

“I didn’t want to leave my classes last year to leave for treatment, but I had to. I didn’t have a choice,” said Haight.

All of his PET scans are clean as of now, and he will only need to go back to the hospital for monitoring and one more PET scan next January.

Through the support of students and faculty, Haight was able to keep his spirits high during his leave. Administrative assistant Linda Mahoney sent a card to Haight weekly, and Haight was “overwhelmed by the support” that came from both the faculty and his students.

“I was sad because we really love him, and to see him going through something like that was really traumatic,” said Junior Alex Morrison, who was on Haight’s freshman soccer team, and who is now in one of his AP Biology classes.

Mahoney and Haight have had a lasting friendship that all started on a college trip, in which Haight was mistaken for Mahoney’s son.

“He calls me Ma and I call him Sonny. It has always been like that,”  said Mahoney, who has always sent cards to loved ones when they were unwell. “I would search high and low for the strangest cards to just make you smile. I hate sappy cards.”

Last May, the girls’ tennis team, lead by coach Tracy Capone , as well as members of the girls’ soccer team helped to plan a walk for cancer at Lowell General Hospital, and managed to collect over 4000 dollars.

Haight explained that all of the students saw him after the walk with his new appearance, without hair and beard.

Over all of his intensive treatment, Haight managed to keep a positive attitude and was able to see the bright side and maintain high spirits.

“The hair grows back,” Haight said smiling.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All WA Ghostwriter Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *