To get to know Tonya Griggs all one has to do is to listen to her students.
“She is an amazing person. She’s an amazing friend,” said student Marilyn Ortega.
“She is a positive role model,” said student Lori Ivie.
Few people can generate that kind of sincere praise from teenagers, but it’s easy when it comes to Ms. Griggs. She gives them hope.
“Sometimes you don’t believe like yourself that you can do it and you have all these great things in you. There’s people god puts in your way and they show you. Mrs. Griggs is one of those persons for me,” said student Ruthie.
She does that despite battling kidney failure and needing a transplant, for the second time in 13 years.
“I share a lot with my students. I don’t hide anything. If I don’t feel well, they know. If I’m hospitalized, they know it.” Tanya Griggs. “I do that to let them know sometimes you have to do things in spite of…”
In spite of leaving school three days a week to spend three hours on dialysis, she makes it to work even when she’s not up to par, to set an example for her students.
“There’s going to be many obstacles, be it medical, be it financial, whatever, but you have to learn if they can’t go through it, go around it,” said Griggs.
“She’s a positive role model. Not only because she’s funny but she’s going through a lot. I text her like, ‘Ms. Griggs, you okay?’ cause if she doesn’t come to school I’m worried about her,” said Ivie.
“One thing I admire about her is whether she was in the hospital or not feeling well, she would come right back to class and it always made me feel like she loves us that much,” said Ortega.
“I’m just really blessed,” said Griggs.