Surprising way to start the school year

By Erica Quednau |

Published 05/01 2014 03:52PM

Updated 05/01 2014 06:13PM

RANTOUL -- A student got a warm welcome back to school Thursday. Holley Brooks hasn't been around the halls of J.W. Eater Junior High recently. She's been battling cancer for the second time. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau was there for her return.

She returned to school to a huge surprise. Students weren't going to let Holley's return go by without making her feel special, so they let her know just how much she's been missed. The halls of J.W. Eater Junior High haven't felt normal lately.

"I'm just excited to see her in the hallways again, and just say, 'Hi,' every time we pass each other because I miss that."

These students are racing through the halls, not to get to class.

"I'm really excited. Really excited!"

But to welcome their classmate on her first day of school.

"We got to go."

Something that's also not normal for the beginning of May.

"I just thought it would be a great way for her to come back to school and see all her friends. A great welcome for her."

"We'll be ready. OK?"

Dozens of Holley Brooks' friends and classmates lined the sidewalk in front of the school, ready to give her a special welcome.

"It's her! It's her!"

"Everyone knows who Holley is."

"Hey, I missed you!"

"Welcome back sweetheart!"

"I was just like, 'Oh, my gosh. That's a lot of people.' Did not expect that. Nobody told me this was going to happen."

It may not be the normal way to start a school year, but it's helping Holley and her friends feel right back at home.

"Just having her back at school and just being like, I don't know, normal."

"I was very excited to see all my friends and kind of excited to get back to a normal life."

Holley's most recent scans show she's cancer free. She goes back in three months for a check up.

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