SAN ANTONIO – During the past 15 years, Vicky Watson has taught at Krueger Middle School and she loves her role as the director of band and the fine arts department.
“It (has) been a great, great ride with all these kids,” Watson said. “I love the community, and I love the kids.”
Her dedication to her students and the North East Independent School District took on an entirely different meaning during the last days of the 2020 summer break.
“I was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in August,” Watson said. “(On) the Friday before we were going to come back to school. So, I immediately went and met with my supervisor.”
She got connected with the Human Resources department to help establish a mission.
“With my doctors and the (district’s) central office, we came up with a plan so that I could continue to teach,” she said.
Although challenging, Watson was determined to continue serving her nearly 300 students in the best manner possible, just as she had during the past 28 total years as a teacher.
“Not teaching was not an option. I was going to teach,” Watson said. “Sitting around at home feeling bad wasn’t healthy for me. So, when I was in the classroom I wasn’t thinking about cancer. I wasn’t thinking about my therapy. I was more focused on my job, which is sharing music with students that I love.”
Since her diagnosis, Watson has only had to miss about 20 days of school.
“I basically took one day off for my chemotherapy,” Watson said. “I scheduled that to be on Fridays so that I could have recovery time and be back at work the following Monday.”
Radiation began in February and those sessions were also strategically chosen on Fridays to avoid missing additional days.
Through it all, Watson remained focus on sharing music and strengthening the skills of her students in time for the UIL competition.
“They’ve had a lot of compassion. They understand,” Watson said.
It’s not just a win at the UIL competition that Watson is celebrating. On the last week of April, just a couple of weeks after her birthday, the band director had the chance to make music with one of the most beautiful instruments she has ever held.
“I am cancer free,” Watson said. “I’m really excited.”
Watson was able to ring the bell to celebrate her win against cancer. Now, she’s focused on finishing the year strong with her student’s first in-person concert of the year.
“We’re going to have a concert on May 19,” Watson said. “So, we’re going to push through to the end (of the school year) and bring back some normalcy for them. You know, they haven’t performed in front of an audience since March of 2020.”
For any educators of parents struggling through a health diagnosis, Watson has a few words to share.
“Your mind is very powerful and if you focus on the positive and keep yourself occupied with what makes you happy, you can push through it,” Watson said.
Watson credits her positive spirit to the compassion and support from her supervisors, co-workers, students and family. Now more than ever, Watson said she’s proud to be a Krueger Falcon.