Independence students gathering donations, well-wishes for principal fighting cancer

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Students at one school in Independence are keeping a beloved principal close to their hearts as she fights a serious illness.

Kids at Mill Creek Elementary School are cheering for their principal to recover quickly.

If a school’s students are a reflection of its principal, leadership at Mill Creek Elementary has a precious person as its administrator.

Lindsey Miller, who has led the school for four years, hasn’t been to class since December. Oncologists diagnosed her with cancer during the holiday break.

Coincidentally, the Independence School District is observing this week as Kindness Week, during which students at Mill Creek are making get well cards for Miller, encouraging her to be strong as she begins chemotherapy.

“She helped me grow up and be in this school,” said Jason Meza, a Mill Creek fifth-grader.

Lindsey Miller

Jason is one of several Mill Creek students who spent part of their Monday morning coloring and cutting, using markers, scissors and construction paper to create heartfelt greetings for their friend, the school principal.

Those students are also collecting money that will be used to assemble cancer care bags, a collection of basic sundries that will keep Miller’s spirits high and her body as comfortable as possible.

Items on their list include: warm fuzzy socks, lip balm, hard candy, bottled water, magazines, bath stuff and gallon-sized Ziplock bags.

“Our principal is really nice, and she helps everyone learn. She helps everyone have a great day because she always has a big smile on her face. I’m really concerned about her,” Jason said.

“We really miss her and we hope she gets well soon,” said Mari Carreon, another Mill Creek fifth-grader. “She just really helps our school run nice, so everybody knows they’re doing the right job and stuff.”

School district administrators said Miller has built an atmosphere where kids love to learn. Kevin Drinkard, Mill Creek Elementary’s acting principal, said everyone at the school is anxious for good news about Miller.

Staff members said Miller is due to begin chemotherapy this week. Drinkard said she means the world to these kids, and they want her back soon.

“I’ve seen a community that’s really together, and kids that care about their teachers,” Drinkard said. “The school community has come together to make sure the school is the same every day for these kids and that they are coming to a place where they’ll be safe and cared for.”

District leaders said the public is welcome to contribute. Donors can drop off donations from the aforementioned list and personal checks at the school’s main office during business hours.

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