PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WRBL) – As teachers and faculty at Central High School prepare for the upcoming school year, they are remembering the lessons they learned from a former student. 

Despite battling cancer throughout high school, Tatiana Gordon was determined to walk across the graduation stage. No matter how long it took to get out of her wheelchair and receive her diploma, she was determined to celebrate the end of her high school career. 

“I got to sit in the stands and watch her,” Gordon’s teacher, Jacque Casciaro, said. “Not a dry eye in the building. It was phenomenal. It was the best part of the whole entire school year.”

While some students dreaded going to school, Tatiana looked forward to it. 

“She loved this school,” Casciaro said. “She loved Central. She loved her teachers. She loved her friends. That’s all she spoke about was being able to be there and [ being ] a normal senior.”

A high schooler battling stage four brain cancer was anything but normal. 

However, Tatiana always found a way to remember what was important. 

This summer, her teachers asked if there was something special they could do to fulfill her final wish. She wanted matching tattoos. They all got matching tattoos of Gordon’s birth flower, a daffodil. The stem of Gordon’s flower said “blessed.”

“Immediately it struck a chord because I can’t say for myself that I would be in that same mindset if I was experiencing the hardship that she was experiencing,” Central High School teacher, Erin Tyson, said.  “To see her going through these things that are so hard but still knowing and believing that she’s blessed… that kind of wraps up who she was all in one conversation.”

Tatiana’s post-graduation plans were to attend Columbus State University and become a nurse. She said her dream was to help people. 

On July 27, Tatiana passed away at her home. 

Her dream of becoming a nurse was cut short, but her dream of helping people lives on. Despite her circumstances, she believed she was blessed. She remained positive. She leaves behind those lessons with the people she loved. 

“No matter what you’re going through, no matter what it is… if she can do it, anybody can do it, no matter what the situation is,” Nathaniel Gordon, Tatiana’s father said. 

In Gordon’s case, the student became the teacher. 

“She was an incredible human being and heaven is lucky to have her,” Casciaro said.

The Gordon family will be holding a balloon release for Tatiana at 914 Fontaine Rd. in Phenix City on Friday, Aug. 5 at 7 p.m.