Hats signs of solidarity for Carmel classmate
Carmel High School showed its solidarity with freshman Nolan Roth, of North Barrington, as his fellow classmates wore hats with him while he underwent chemotherapy treatments. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 15, 2013 4:36PM
MUNDELEIN — Nolan Roth began his freshman year at Carmel Catholic High School on a high note.
He had made a bunch of friends before the year started at band camp and started his academics on a positive note.
“Music is what I really love,” Nolan, 15, said.
The North Barrington resident started playing trumpet in the fourth grade and taught himself how to play the piano. He also plays guitar, bass, mandolin and ukulele; is in band and jazz band at Carmel, plus had an unnamed band with friends in his spare time.
“He’s a very hard-working, very polite, very respectful (and) just a thoroughly nice young man,” said his French teacher, Debbie Katz.
But Nolan’s school year was interrupted with a discovery at his doctor’s office. A mass in his neck was determined cancerous. He was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a cancer of the blood. He started undergoing chemo treatment.
“Thankfully, I’m able to keep my mind on school and I’m able to make it through the chemo,” Nolan said.
His weekly visits to the doctor for treatment leave him with some unpleasant side effects like headaches and hair loss.
Nolan secured permission to wear a hat, which is against Carmel’s dress code. All his teachers, including Katz, had received an e-mail informing them that he was allowed to wear hats inside the school.
Unknown to Nolan, Katz sent out some e-mails of her own.
“Immediately, I thought we must support him. As a teenager, the last thing in the world they want is to be different,” Katz said.
She asked all her students in Nolan’s French class to wear hats to show Nolan that they were with him.
“When I came into class, everyone was wearing a hat. It was very kind,” Nolan said.
Katz said she continues to encourage her class to wear hats to show their support to Nolan. She said Nolan thanked her after class.
“It just seemed like the very least we could do ... he’s a normal child for his age who wants to do well in school. He works hard just like the other kids who has this extra burden,” Katz said.
Nolan is dedicated to not falling behind in school. He said he hoped to follow in his parents footsteps and become an attorney.
He said his teachers at Carmel treat him like every other student.
“Carmel is an amazing school and everyone has helped me out here. I don’t know where I would be if I was in a public school. (People) are kind and understanding, not just teachers but kids, too,” Nolan said.