Alumna survives three cancer journeys, dedicates life to God 

Apr 09, 2024
Becky King and her husband, Lamoine, pose.
Becky King and her husband, Lamoine, pose.

Becky King, a 2000 Newman University graduate, has been teaching and living her life for God, but not without many challenges.

On June 1, she will retire from teaching in the USD 259 school district using the education degree she earned at Newman.

“I’ve made it to 66 blessed years of age and my body says it’s time to retire, but I don’t plan to stop learning,” King said. “I’m so grateful for the education I received from Newman. It has been God’s grace that has brought me this far.”

19 years of trials

King is a three-time cancer survivor.

She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1996, just 10 years after her second daughter passed away from leukemia. In 2003, King received a second cancer diagnosis — oral cancer. This came as a shock to her and her doctors, as King had never smoked. Radiation for five days each week to complete 28 treatments plus surgery made King so weak she could barely walk. Still, she overcame the cancer.

In 2015 King was diagnosed with breast cancer. Followering her mastectomy, King participated in a study to determine whether a hormone-blocking chemotherapy pill following surgery made a difference in women with her type and stage of cancer.

“To be this strong now, it’s God’s strength,” said King. 

King has been relying on that same strength not only in her personal life but also as an educator.

Transformative teaching

King has taught full time for 24 years and has done substitute teaching for several years. She is trained to teach all four core subjects and has extra licensing in English-language learner (ELL). 

She attended Friends University where she received 60 credits before leaving school in 1977 when expecting her first child. When she chose to return to school in 1998 at the guidance of her boss at St. Joseph Catholic School in Conway Springs, she found Newman. Newman was the only school in the area that accepted all her credits and helped her graduate with her teaching degree. 

She has worked at three Wichita public schools since 2004, with a two-year stint elsewhere between the first two Wichita schools.

She started at Wilbur Middle School and stayed there for three years before she and her husband left for Red Bird Mission, a Christian-based school, community and work camp in Kentucky.

At Red Bird, King taught at the mission’s school and her husband kept trucks loaded for everything the mission needed. They did this for two years before moving back and settling in Goddard, Kansas. 

King poses for a photo.
King poses for a photo.

“It was a time we became bolder in our faith,” said King. 

In 2009, King started teaching at Wichita’s Truesdell Middle School, where she worked for three years and earned her ELL license. She also received her master’s degree in special education. 

“There are over 109 languages in Wichita Public Schools. This license helps students whose first language is not English,” said King. 

She started teaching at Greiffenstein-Wells Alternative Middle School in the fall of 2012, where she has worked ever since. This is a special alternative school for approximately 40 students who struggle with mental illness and lack behavioral skills. 

“There is a prayer group that meets before school and it helps us to get our minds in the right headspace. God placed me in that school for a reason, for the students and for the teachers,” said King. 

God placed me in that school for a reason, for the students and for the teachers.

Becky King, 2000 graduate

Even though she finds it more physically and mentally tasking to teach at Greiffenstein-Wells, King said the teachers are like a family. They have hard and easier days, and through it all they continue to persevere for the students.  

“To me teaching here is my ministry, and while I can’t preach, I can still show them love,” King said. 

She was nominated for a distinguished teacher award during the 2023-2024 school year and progressed through several rounds.

“I was very proud of this as there are many amazing teachers in the running,” said King. 

Giving of her time, supporting others

When King is not teaching, she volunteers for causes she is passionate about. Through Victory in the Valley, a cancer support group in Wichita, King helps facilitate its annual Women’s Weekend, designed to give education, hope and encouragement to cancer patients and survivors.

“I enjoy sharing my cancer journey and hope to come alongside and shine hope to others on the path,” said King.

Throughout all the challenges of her life, King has only grown closer to God. 

“No matter where you are, you can find ways to worship God,” said King. 

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