Serena Duncan of Middletown sacrificed so much to keep teaching first graders in Jersey City while she battled breast cancer. And she never gave up.
Serena Duncan’s final day as a teacher began with an accident. It was Friday, June 3. She was late getting out of bed and fell down. But she got up.
She always got up.
For eight years Duncan battled breast cancer, and the Middletown resident never let it interfere with her vocation as a first-grade teacher in Jersey City.
She scheduled chemotherapy treatments around class. She lost her hair, donned a wig, and after a while, tossed the wig and wore a cap. Even heading into the 2021-22 school year, when doctors estimated she had a year to live, she insisted on being there for her students at Public School 41, Fred W. Martin Center for the Arts. When she no longer could stand, she taught from a chair.