AKRON, Ohio – It was a young girl’s dying wish to see her father finish high school.
“Always with me, always playing around, she was the light of my life.”
Doug Kirchner is talking about his 12-year-old daughter, Skyler Nicole.
She was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 6. Six years later, the tumor would claim her life.
Kirchner said, “We decided to live life as much as we could in that short amount of time and when she passed, it was, I’ve never seen anybody pass just with such grace.”
But Doug says while on her death-bed, she made him promise her one thing: to finish his high school graduation.
The 41-year-old dropped out of Valley Forge High School in Parma in the 9th grade.
Skylar passed away on November 11, 2011. By July of the following year, Doug had earned his GED thanks to an organization here in Summit County called Project Learn.
The program’s executive director Marquita Mitchell said, “We provide GED services, as well as English for speakers for other languages services, as well as transitional services to help our students transfer to post-secondary education and workplace development.”
“Project Learn was where I did all my studying and all my pre-testing,” said Kirchner.
He would ultimately take his education to the next level.
On Saturday, Doug graduated from Kent State University with a degree in applied conflict management and a minor in criminal justice.
Doug is now remarried with three young boys.
He says he often wonders what Skyler would think of his accomplishments today.
“She was just a little kid when she passed, but I think she would say I knew you could do it.”