ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. â€” Desheko Jones is a senior at St. Petersburg High School.
Or maybe heâ€™s a junior. Heâ€™s really not sure.
Jones spends nine hours a week hooked up to a dialysis machine at Johns Hopkins All Childrenâ€™s Hospital.
His wait for a new kidney has robbed the 18-year-old of valuable school time.
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As he prepares for the start of school on August 14, Jones is a little nervous whether he will graduate from high school this year.
That is where Annette Pagliaro comes in. She is one of six full-time teachers at the hospital whose main job is to get patients like Jones ready for school.
This is a very busy time of year for both of them. Pagliaro is not shy about helping him hit the books.
â€œWe have a lot to do,â€ says Pagliaro. â€œWe were busy all summer long. But these next two weeks are really busy. Because weâ€™re setting them up for success.â€
Her job is to teach and to keep Desheko on academic pace with kids his age.
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â€œSheâ€™s a good teacher, but sheâ€™ll stay on you!â€ says Jones. â€œWe work on everything, from math and science to language arts.â€
Pagliaro is also trying to make sure Jones’ already disrupted life doesnâ€™t get more disrupted.
Most teachers and students have butterflies about a new school year, but the feeling is heightened for Desheko and Annette. This is crunch time.
They are both confident Jones is going to do well, especially in math.
â€œI donâ€™t even need a calculator,â€ Jones smiles. â€œIâ€™m already smart!â€