Having faith
by Marcus E. Howard
mhoward@mdjonline.com
August 08, 2010 12:00 AM | 7806 views | 25 25 comments | 70 70 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Faith Cline, 17, and her parents, Kristina and Paul Boswell, celebrated her high school graduation from Kennesaw Mountain High School with a special ceremony at the school's auditorium on Sunday.
Faith Cline, 17, and her parents, Kristina and Paul Boswell, celebrated her high school graduation from Kennesaw Mountain High School with a special ceremony at the school's auditorium on Sunday.
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Kennesaw Mountain High School graduated one student Sunday afternoon in a special commencement.

Faith Cline, 17, of Acworth, was that sole graduate. Decked out in KMH’s traditional green graduation gown and cap, she took her place on the auditorium stage amid the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance.” She was joined by school and Cobb School District officials, senior class officers and her best friend, who all donned caps and gowns.

The ceremony was held because Faith, who would be a rising senior, has already completed all of her graduation requirements — and because doctors do not know how much longer she will live with a brain stem tumor.

She was diagnosed her freshman year. However, Faith has been determined to receive her high school diploma in spite of her worsening health. On Sunday, dozens of family members and hundreds of other audience members, including students, teachers, and Kennesaw officials, witnessed Faith fulfill her goal.

Faith’s mother and stepfather, Kristina and Paul Boswell, as well as her siblings Jeremy Boswell, 22, Patience Cline, 15, and Isaac Cline, 12, have each had to make sacrifices in order to see the hope of Sunday’s ceremony become realized by Faith. That fact was evident by the tears Faith shed when she was handed her diploma. The audience roared in a standing ovation.

“It’s about time,” Faith said days before her graduation when asked how she felt about finally receiving her diploma.

The day after she was diagnosed on March 28, 2008, doctors told Faith that they planned to immediately admit her into a hospital. But that didn’t sit well with Faith, who was heavily involved in chorus and the Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at school. She was determined to be present for a JROTC annual military inspection the next day.

“She had not been upset to that point, even though they have told her she had a brain tumor,” recalled her mother. “And she proceeded to scream and holler because she said, ‘I will not miss school tomorrow. I’ve worked too hard. I am not missing school.’”

Faith stood for 2 ½ hours the following day during the inspection, Kristina Boswell said.

That’s one of many examples of Faith’s determination given by those who know her. Principal Dr. Kevin Daniel called her determination “contagious.” He said she lit up the entire campus when she showed up on the first day of school on Thursday.

Jo Anne Taylor, a school nurse who has grown close to her, said watching Faith over the past few years has personally changed her approach to life.

“As the time went on she gradually needed more help from me as a nurse with medications and other issues that she was experiencing,” remembered Taylor, the commencement speaker. “Never did I hear her complain, be bitter, depressed, or say ‘why me?’ She never hid the disease. She’s always been open and willing to tell the students what was going on with her.”

Faith’s brain tumor is inoperable, her family said. For treatment she has received radiation and chemotherapy. For much of her time in school she was able to attend classes most days of the week in a wheelchair, pushed by fellow students. On days she couldn’t, teachers sometimes visited her. Last spring, she was voted prom princess at school.

“She fought to go to school, even though she was in and out of the hospital and under treatment,” said her stepfather. “She’s an inspiration.”

In just the past couple of weeks Faith’s speech has become difficult to understand, said Kristina Boswell. Her family is aware that time is not on their side, though doctors gave her just 14 months to live after diagnosis and it’s now been nearly 25 months. Still, a wish list of roughly 10 things Faith wants to accomplish in life has become somewhat of a priority.

She has met her half-brother Noah; participated in a mission trip to South Carolina; fallen in love with cancer patient Evan Carswell, who died in March; cruised to the Caribbean; done something spontaneous by coloring her hair pink and green; skied in Utah; attended an Atlanta Braves game in a VIP section; graduated from high school; and made a difference in the world.

Meeting Carrie Underwood and watching her sister on American Idol are works in progress. The school, Make-A-Wish Foundation and other organizations have been responsible for making her dreams come true.

Faith’s yearbook quote is: “Never give up hope and you will do great things, I already know.” It has become words of inspiration for the entire school. For Faith, inspiration has been drawn from God, her mother, family and best friend, she said.

By Faith’s side, throughout her whole experience, has been her best friend since the sixth-grade, Summer Sheldon. She visits Faith everyday, has spent Christmas with her family and accompanied her to the recent Braves game.

“I wanted to tell you in front of all of our family and friends how proud I am of you. God couldn’t of have given me a better friend,” Summer said in a speech on Sunday.

“He knew I needed someone to talk to; someone to play softball and Super Mario Bros. with. He knew I needed someone to scope out the hot guys with — very important. You are the peanut to my butter, the peas to my carrots and the love to my bug. I think everyone would agree with me when I say you deserve this special day. Congratulations, I love you.”
Comments
(25)
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Jamie Leigha
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August 24, 2010
I'm a student at Kennesaw Mountain and have met her sister who was given the news in class yesterday about her sister passing away. Since she recently graduated from Kennesaw Mountain we have all heard her story and watched the video of her graduation or had the honor of seeing it. Today she was on the annoncements and we all took a moment of silence in respect for this beautiful and amazing girl. She will be missed but always remembered and we will always remember her with good thoughts and memories and she will always be respected. To the family i'm so sorry for your loss.
spectatator
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August 16, 2010
faith

i honestly dont know you in person but i know who you are. your testimony is encouraging me to live a life thats reps CHRIST. i believe God has a plan and hes in control. i just wanna say thanks and whatever happens ill see you some day!

brooke holliman
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August 14, 2010
dear faith,

yu are the reason i found the courage to sing in front of people. i didnt know how to find it in my self but when i came to kennesaw mountain high school and sungnwith you and summer i realized that you two were my friends and would not lie to me so i found the courage and succeeded. thank you so much for everything you have done for me and i am very proud of your accomplishments. CONGRAGULATIONS on your graduation.
snez777
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August 10, 2010
Faith:

Your name says it all - keep the Faith! The Lord loves you and he will keep you. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you to reach so many people. You are an inspiration to all of us! May the Lord bless you and keep you in this life and the life he has in store for you! Continue to be a blessing to others, so that they can see the goodness of the LORD. The doctors said 14 months, but that's certainly not what the LORD said. You have already lived past their expectation! Believe in the LORD, NOT the doctors. I'm praying for you girly! LOVE YOU!

Sandy
Ms. Nokes
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August 09, 2010
Hi, Faith. I love your name. It is something I strive to grow in everyday. I read this wonderful article. Something you have accomplished with a want to attitude. Your so beautiful. When I read this article it made me think of Revelation 21: 3,4 and Psalms 37: 10,11. We'll see eachother one day, with no worries. You will be in my prayers. For God to comfort your heart and your families hearts and to give you what you need. If, there is away you can let me know what I can do- I will be here the best way I can. Best Regards.
two cents
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August 09, 2010
Kennesaw Mountain Mustangs - your character is showing and glowing! This is an inspirational story for all high schoolers. Set your goals as high as a mountain.
bobbie ealy
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August 09, 2010
Faith has been an inspiration since the day I met her. Her strength, courage, and good attitude make all who meet her realize she is an amazing person with a great support system of family, friends, and teachers. I'm glad you had a great day Faith, you deserve it!
anonymous
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August 09, 2010
Faith, you are a strong, amazing person. I don't think there is a person on this earth who is as strong and genuinely happy as you. You are an amazing piece of the puzzle that is our KMHS chorus. Every song we sing, I sing it with you in my head. You have done amazing work here, but you will only do BETTER work above. I love you,
Ms.Hollywood
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August 09, 2010
Faith has made a GREAT impact on my life. She is truely an inspiration to me. From the two years I have known her she has been a blessing in my life. When I broke my foot last year she brought one of her old wheel chairs to school so I could use it. She has made a remarkable impact on my life and I know she will do what ever it takes to push through. I dont know her very well personally but I love her. She is an amazing girl and I hope I can be just like her. I love you Faith.
kmamakennesaw
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August 09, 2010
Faith is a member of my family and a true testiment to her name. I am proud and honored to know her and love her. She has made a difference in this world. She is living proof that you can work miracles no matter how old or young you are or whatever hand you are dealt. I love you sweetie!
Marie Mc
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August 09, 2010
What a beautiful story. Hang in there Faith and may God be with you and your family!
anonymous
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August 09, 2010
My daughter is one of Faiths class mates and friends. Faith has truly touched many lives if not directly she has through the students at Kennesaw Mountain. She reminds us all that life is what you make of it in the time that you have here. In her short life Faith has lived more that most Adults every will for Faith take each day and lives it to the fullest. Faith will forever remind a blessing in your lives. Even though I didn't know her that well my family has been touched my her faith in God and her postive outlook.
Mrs. Conner
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August 09, 2010
I was the teacher of Faith's brother Issac in 4th grade--the year Faith was diagnosed. This is one strong, inspirational family...

Blessings to Faith and the rest of the family. :)
April Saine
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August 09, 2010
Thank you, MDJ for reporting an amazing story of Faith, hope and love in our community! Please keep it coming!
The Thanepohn Family
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August 09, 2010
Congratulations Faith!!!

AND Thank you for your continued inspiration.

With much love to you and your family.
anonymous
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August 09, 2010
Faith is a member of KMHS' NJROTC program and has been a true inspiration to my son, a fellow cadet and her entire platoon. It was a treat to see her at the Awards Ceremony at the end of lst year. Congratulations on earning your diploma, Faith!
your average citizen
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August 09, 2010
I am not a soft or squishy person, but just like other readers, here I sit, at my desk, choked up. You GO Faith. Keep adding to that list. I will be praying for you and your family. You absolutely made a difference in my life today.
Dawgfan15
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August 09, 2010
I couldn't think of a better way to start the week than by reading this inspirational article. It also makes me think my problems aren't so big. Thoughts and prayers are with you, Faith. Congratulations on your graduation!
anonymous
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August 09, 2010
You make all of CCSD proud, Faith!! You're quite an inspiration for all of us to press on to our goals in life!! Our prayers are with you as well as our admiration!!
Incredible!
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August 09, 2010
What a remarkable young lady! She is an inspiration to many!! Her friend sounds like a wonderful person too!!
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