Office clerk Sheila Hogan is a fixture at Central High School, so when she disappeared last fall, the students wanted to know why.
"I took off that whole semester to do my chemotherapy," said Hogan.
"I think it was shock," said Central High Junior Chancelynn Ridley. "A lot of people were shocked and just they were caught off-guard, like, ''Really? So is that why she's been missing?'"
Hogan's breast cancer diagnosis was an eye opener for some students like Ridley.
"It made me alert that breast cancer is real and it is happening."
But others, like 16-year-old Kyri Orr, already had family ties to the disease.
"We were talking about it, my auntie had breast cancer, and so when my mom went to get her mammogram done, I went with her," said Orr.
For the first time this October, Central High joined the pink ribbon culture.
"They made an announcement on the school intercom," explained sophomore Bob Bryson, "I heard, 'Get your t-shirts,' and that they cost $10."
The goal was to raise $1,000 for the Komen Foundation, an idea that started with a parent volunteer, and was supposed to involve just the teachers.
"Some of the students saw them, and they decided they wanted the t-shirts," said Hogan.
Aside from the t-shirts, there were glimpses of pink in student's apparel, and hints of the topic in classroom discussions.
Health and P.E. teacher Sheila Toombs had a quick question and answer session with her freshmen.
"Why not?" she said. "They get information about everything else, but why not cancer, why not breast cancer?"
Because, Toombs says, even though breast cancer is rare in people under 40, there's a good chance students will have to deal with it at some point.
"It can really hit at home sometimes," she said. "How do you react to that, and know you have to be loving and caring to those people and support also."
Hogan says that's exactly what her Central High family gave her.
If you want to get involved, there are more breast cancer events in the Macon area. For more events, visit komencentralga.org.