Community, students rally to allow cancer survivor to participate in graduation ceremony

RAPID CITY, S.D. – It was a story that inspired a community to change the way things have always been at Rapid City Area Schools.

Meredith Erck was originally denied the chance to walk across the stage at graduation because she was short six credits.

Her family pleaded with the school district to make an exception, saying that the situation was not Erck’s fault.

For the past two years, Erck underwent multiple surgeries after being diagnosed with brain and colon cancer.

However, the school district said that the policy still applied to her case.

After learning about Erck’s plight, the community came to her aid and urged the school district to reconsider.

On Thursday, the administration of Rapid City Area Schools announced that Erck would be allowed to walk at graduation after all.

“The decision has been anything but simple. But as one retired educator wrote, ‘As educators, we often have to make exceptions and be flexible for our students and their varying circumstances and needs.’ I have decided that this truly is an exceptional case that calls for flexibility,” Superintendent Dr. Lori Simon told KEVN.

Officials say Erck will not receive her diploma until she has finished those credits.