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Calamus-Wheatland student turns pain into triumph after dad dies of cancer

"Megan has grown a ton," one of Megan Forret's principals said. "She is caring, compassionate, dedicated."

CALAMUS, Iowa — An area student is one of three high school seniors receiving a SOAR scholarship award this year as WQAD News 8 teams up with The Sedona Group to recognize outstanding achievements.

Megan Forret is a senior at Calamus-Wheatland High School who loves being around little kids.

"Megan has grown a ton," Calamus-Wheatland Elementary principal Ashley Kelting said. "Megan is caring, compassionate, dedicated."

She works at the day care inside the school building.

"The babies are fun little kids that I get to hang out with every day," Megan said.

She has gained lots of experience from being a student, intern and now employee. Megan also is active in and out of school by being a leader in FFA and running her family's lawn-mowing business.

"I love all of it," Megan said. "I wouldn't want to take anything off my plate."

However, Megan had to take time for herself just before going to high school.

"Having to resituate my life because I lost my father who ... I was his little girl. [It] was very hard," Megan said.

Her father, Chris, died of pancreatic cancer during a 3-year battle that started with a diagnosis in 2016. He was 46 years old.

"A couple of years ago, I definitely was worried," Megan's mom Lori Forret said.

"It was hard just trying to go day by day," Megan said. "I easily thought, 'What's the point, why should I go to school every day.'"

Depression kicked in for Megan, which led to trouble in school and issues at home.

"Then I realized, 'this is not the person I was raised to be, if dad was still here,'" Megan said.

Megan received counseling and the love she shows for everyone else, she remembered herself. 

"It's wonderful to see what she's overcome," Lori said. "When someone asks her to do something, she doesn't really say no, because she knows when we needed the most, people were there for us."

"That Megan my sophomore year and the Megan I am today, are two basically different people."

In addition to being FFA chapter president, Megan has been part of the National Honor Society, student council, captain of her school's volleyball team, blood drive committee chair, teacher's assistant and altar server at mass services.

Megan wants to be a teacher and she is set to attend college at Iowa State University this fall.

Watch other SOAR scholarship stories on News 8's YouTube channel

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