UNC Hospital School helps sick children keep learning while getting treatment

Brandon Garcia Zamora practicing his math at UNC Hospital School


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — It’s a place that a lot of people don’t even know exists. Among the vast space that makes up UNC Hospitals is another school that’s not for college students.

On the day that CBS North Carolina’s Russ Bowen visited, he watched as Brandon Garcia Zamora made his way around the corner of the hallway on his tricycle with teacher and IV in tow. Before getting to class though, he had to make a pit-stop to check out his latest project freshly produced by the school’s 3D printer.

“My drive is supporting some of the most fragile kids in our state. And when I say fragile, they might be medically fragile, but they’re really resilient and they’re fun and they’re kids,” said Marny Ruben, principal of UNC Hospital School. “So, I believe that all kids should be able to be in school.”

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They do that with nurses and staff who stay busy around the clock making sure the patients at the UNC Children’s Hospital have the best care. That also helps them be ready for class.

While located at UNC Hospitals, the school is under the umbrella of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

Brandon has cystic fibrosis and is in and out of the hospital quite a bit. His teacher, Tania Agosta, sees him often.

CBS North Carolina was there as Brandon got his math lesson from Agosta. It’s obvious that Brandon loves math.

Ruben beams when she talks about watching her students.

“It’s just inspiring and it’s really meaningful. It definitely can bring some perspective,” she said.

If patients are too sick to go to a classroom then the teacher comes to them in their hospital room.

Brandon proposes a compromise.

“Like, I don’t want to leave. I just wish this was my room, but there’s no bed in here.”

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