AHS students pony up for Pedro | AspenTimes.com

AHS students pony up for Pedro

John Colson
Aspen High School junior Pedro Granados receives a check for $6,800 from Aspen High teacher Amy Coyle on Monday. Granados is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor, and students, faculty and others raised the money to defray medical costs. (Mark Fox/The Aspen TImes)

Aspen High School junior Pedro Granados has had a relatively tough time, something you might not notice in his sunny disposition and easy smile.But take a look at the scars on his head and torso (which he keeps hidden beneath a hat and clothes), or a photo of him following one of his many surgeries, and you begin to get the idea.The native of Michoacan, Mexico, who now lives at Aspen Village with his mother and who has a large extended family across the Roaring Fork Valley, suffered severe injuries in a car accident when he was younger. The resulting cranial surgery left behind some striking scars.

More recently, Granados was diagnosed with a brain tumor, requiring still more surgeries in Michoacan’s capital city of Morelia, as well as regular trips to hospitals there and in the United States for radiation treatments. He now travels to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction for periodic treatments, the next of which is in late April.Granados was somewhat embarrassed, but proud all the same, when his classmates, teachers and friends presented him with a check for $6,800 this week to help defray ongoing medical costs.Teacher Amy Coyle, a Spanish and English Language Learners instructor, spearheaded a donation drive at the school called “Put Your Hat On for Pedro,” in which students were allowed to keep their caps and hats on in school. Although the drive was originally to have lasted one day, Aspen High School Principal Charlie Anastas said, “It was going very well, so we extended it for a week.”Anastas said donations came in from students, teachers and other AHS staff, as well as other upvalley schools and the community at large.

The presentation took place Monday morning during an all-school assembly in the AHS Skier Dome. After a few announcements and congratulatory remarks for the students’ high marks on standardized tests and fine work in the recent school play, “Beauty and the Beast,” Coyle took the microphone.She first addressed the assembly with a hearty, “Thank you all for participating so much, and thanks to Charlie for extending it for a whole week.” Then Coyle called Granados up and handed him a check the size of a beach towel. The young man leaned over the mic, murmured a quick “thank you” to the assembled crowd, and beat a hasty retreat to the sidelines.When asked how he felt about the donation, he grinned and said simply, “Good,” then added a little more expansively and with some awe in his voice, “It’s a big check.”Anastas, obviously proud of the school’s response to a fellow student’s need, noted Granados must miss a considerable amount of school for treatment, which means he is not well known outside the ELL program and the school’s Latino community.

But still, he said, the AHS student body understood the need and “rose to the challenge.”Anastas said further donations can be mailed to AHS; checks can made out to the school with “for Pedro Granados” written on the memo line.John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com

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