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1st graduate of 2020: Mason City student with leukemia graduates high school from hospital bed

Jordan Roggeman was first diagnosed with leukemia back in November of 2018. He has been working hard to finish his studying, while fighting cancer.

Posted: Feb 26, 2020 10:48 PM
Updated: Feb 27, 2020 6:21 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Jordan Roggeman, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia, had the biggest moment of his life so far. He was awarded his high school diploma right in his hospital room.

David Durbala is Jordon’s teacher and advisor at Mason City Alternative High School.

Durbala said, "It’s a strange place, a strange venue to have a happy moment like that and Jordan was able, the family was able to really put together a nice ceremony for him."

He was among the administrators who traveled to Iowa City to make sure Jordon had the full graduation experience.

"Jordon came back with an attitude this year like, 'I really, really want to get this done.' So he had so little left, when things really went south for him and so he was able to get it done though,” said Durbala.

Earlier this month, Jordon’s leukemia relapsed, forcing him back in the hospital. His mother, Sandi Roggeman, says Jordon worried he would be unable to finish his classes.

"He was really trying hard and that was the first thing when we found out his cancer came back that he was pretty upset that he didn't think he was going to get this done, so he was very excited to have it done."

Even as he battled through rounds of chemotherapy, Jordon found time to work and study.

"We mostly did everything remotely. We would send his work to the hospital and there was an education coordinator that kind of handled all that stuff, and then they would send it back to us and we would make sure that he got the credits that he needed,” said Katie Fistler, Principal of Mason City Alternative High School.

The hard work paid off, with Jordon finally getting his wish. He's now a high school graduate!

"He had a really good day. It was a very long day for him, but yeah, he was very excited to finally get that diploma,” said Sandi Roggeman.

Jordon has graduated early, and is the first graduate of the Class of 2020 from the high school.

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