MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Since Rowan Scott began kindergarten at Riverton Elementary, she's captured everyone's heart. Everyone. From her teachers to the students to the custodial staff. Rowan is hard to miss. She scoots through school halls with light-up casters on her wheelchair. After a premature birth, a brain bleed onset Cerebral Palsy of the Spastic Diplegic type, which means the lower half of the body, including both legs, are affected.
Cognitively though, Rowan is sharp as a tack -- some would even say an old soul.
"Today is Rowan's last day," explains teacher Lisa Goodwin. "She will be going next week to Birmingham to have a surgery.
It's a surgery Rowan's parents Lindsey and Lee Scott have rallied the community around before. In September they held a fundraiser to help make the surgery possible. It will keep the kindergartener out of school for about a month, but it has the potential to put her back on solid ground and on her own two feet.
"Anytime anesthesia is on board it's risky, but the fact they are opening her spine and snipping spinal nerves, you know, is scary -- but her doctor said it is the only way she will ever walk independently," says mom Lindsey Scott.
It's Rowan's spine and Rowan's future, but her parents are naturally more worried than she.
"She is not afraid of anything. She takes everything in stride. She tells me not to worry," says mom. "She wipes our tears."
Friday, the entire school decided to hold a pep rally to send Rowan off in style -- and they all managed to keep it secret for more than two weeks.
"The kids love her," says Rowan's school aid, Karen Payne. "She is honestly just a friend to everyone and the kids have just, you know, they just wrap their arms around her -- they love her."
As Rowan was rolled into the gymnasium, Buckhorn High School Band members trumpeted and one by one, each grade performed songs and dances for the kindergartener and her family at center-court.
Rowan smiled, laughed and kept it together just fine. Her parents, on the other hand, were another story.
"It was like your heart is ripped out of your chest," said Lindsey Scott. "I tried not to cry, of course," Dad added. "But, you know, with those kids singing the songs to her -- it's hard -- it really is, to know that she has more friends than we do!"
Needless to say, the covert pep rally was a success. Mom was nearly speechless.
"We fell so confident leaving and the amount of energy they showed today -- I mean look at her, she is just constantly smiling, how can she not make you smile."
Rowan and her family were sent on their way with tons of goodies and gifts. If this is what the departure is like, we can't wait to see the welcome home festivities.
You can follow Rowan's Journey on her Facebook page.