This past Wednesday was a special day for MacArthur High School seniors Angel and Sammy Root.
The MacArthur community banded together to orchestrate a mock graduation ceremony for the brothers to ensure their father, Don, who is terminally ill with stage 4 brain cancer, was able to see his sons graduate.
Angel, the younger brother, was supposed to graduate next school year. But he decided in December to expedite his graduation so his father could see him graduate.
Angel doesn’t shy away from hard work. In addition to doubling his course load this semester, he works at i Frattelli’s pizza to financially help his family. Angel’s days are filled with books, pizza and his family. Once he graduates, Angel is heading to Dallas College North Lake to receive his basics, and then he’ll pursue his dream of civil engineering at the University of Texas in Arlington.
“From a young age when we came to the United States, my mom, Maria, involved me in her handyman company. I have always worked with my hands, helping my uncles with titling floors, mowing yards, etc.,” says Angel of his childhood.
Angel’s brother, Sammy, is a current senior. He is involved in the mechanic program at the Ratteree Career Development Center, a district career and technical education initiative to provide students real-life experiences and job-readiness skills. When he’s not at school, Sammy spends the majority of his time caring for his father.
After graduation, Sammy is going to spend a year or two saving up for Universal Technical Institute (UTI), a trade school in Irving, with an emphasis in automotive.
The grit and determination to keep going, even in difficult situations, comes naturally for the brothers. Maria and Don have always been an example, focusing on the positive side of things and working hard for what you want.
Angel and Sammy grew up in Monterrey, Mexico, and were adopted by their aunt, Maria Roots, and uncle, Don Roots, whom they call “mom and dad.” The boys moved to the United States with their adopted parents, and three years ago, the family received a call with gut-wrenching news. Don’s doctor informed him that he had brain cancer and would only have about a year left to live.
Defeating the odds, Don continues to fight. Angel and Sammy credit their mother for Don’s additional years.
“Our dad has fought so hard because of our mom. If Mom is around our dad, he’s happy,” says Angel.
Don’s wish to see his sons graduate came true, thanks to Wednesday’s special ceremony. Angel and Sammy, along with the seniors from student council, not only walked across the stage, but they were cheered on by the MacArthur spirit crew, dance team, JROTC and choir.
This was Don’s first time outside of the house in months. The family transported Don in a special wheelchair and made sure to bring all necessary equipment and medicine to keep him comfortable.
“This was a special memory for our dad, and it’s something we will never forget. We are super thankful for every one who came and made it possible,” say Angel and Sammy.