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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Campus teacher opens up about cancer battle, adoption process

Campus+teacher+opens+up+about+cancer+battle%2C+adoption+process

Students gain new perspective on high school math instructor

[/media-credit] Counts teaches four high school math classes – Math 2, Math 2 Honors, Math 3, Math 3 Honors.

Five days a week, eight hours a day, Angie Counts works to help students compute mathematical equations that most struggle to understand. Her classroom is a revolving door of students seeking advice, math lab help or a safe place to find refuge. Counts is currently completing her sixth year at FCS.

After receiving her undergraduate from Pensacola Christian College, Counts went directly into teaching at a private school. She worked at about four different Christian schools before Fresno Christian – including Gethsemane, Trinity Christian School, Apple Valley Christian School and Clovis Christian School.

“I love the culture of a Christian school. I have always been attracted to teaching human relationships with Christ in the classroom,” Counts said. “Teaching at a public school would limit me to only educating basic subjects.”

Counts’ family includes her husband Russ, and her daughters Celeste, ’18, and Annabelle, ’23.

In spite of Counts’ blessed life, she has faced many trials, which she chose to open up about. Counts was diagnosed with Stage 2A breast cancer in 2006, 16 years ago. Once the diagnosis was disclosed to Counts, she immediately worried about the future of her family.

“They caught my cancer kind of early,” Counts said. “But the doctors said I had the ‘monster’ kind.”

Through this exhausting and chaotic period of her life, Counts received endless amounts of support from loved ones, and her faith never wavered. She trusted God continuously throughout the whole process.

“My mother died of breast cancer,” Counts said. “So as I was holding Annabelle in the doctor’s office I thought I would not get to see her grow up. God is good, he has done a miracle.”

[/media-credit] Counts has worked at FCS for six years, and both her daughters have attended.

Even though Annabelle was a baby during this time, she continues to witness the courage and strength her mother exemplifies to those around her everyday. When asked if students are familiar with her mother’s cancer background, Annabelle believes many have no idea.

“Breast cancer is not something people will necessarily bring up in a casual conversation,” Annabelle said. “However, being a cancer survivor truly is an amazing thing and should be celebrated.”

While surviving cancer was an outstanding part of Counts’ life, Counts encountered yet another remarkable and miraculous life change.

Counts adopted both of her daughters, Celeste and Annabelle. Annabelle’s birth mother was a drug addict living on the streets of Vegas. Annabelle was born six weeks early very skinny and very sick, so Counts graciously took her to a hospital in Vegas

Counts visited baby Annabelle in the NICU for 25 days while staying in the Ronald McDonald House.

“I was so excited to bring Annabelle home,” Counts said. “But I knew I had to go home and get ready for her.”

While Counts was working on the final touches, Annabelle’s birth mother informed Counts she was not willing to give up Annabelle. Even though Counts was beyond disheartened, God never left her side and events started to pull together in her favor.

About a week later, Counts received a call from Annabelles’s birth mother, telling Counts she desired to go through with the adoption process. Counts immediately hopped on a plane, and went to go bring Annabelle home.

Despite Annabelle being a baby throughout this time, she is very open about her situation, and how God worked a miracle in her life.

“I enjoy talking about my adoption story,” Annabelle said. “It is not awkward for me. I believe my adoption story is a good example of how God works in unexpected and often painful ways.”

Counts has since worked miracles in her daughters’ lives.

Emma Lien, ’25, is currently enrolled in Counts’ Math 2 Honors class. When asked about her favorite quality of Counts, Lien faced no hesitation to respond immediately.

[/media-credit] Fresno Christian Schools is the fifth private Christian school Counts has worked at.

“My favorite thing about Counts is her enthusiastic personality,” Lien said. “It tends to make her lessons more engaging.”

Counts consistently motivates her students to ask questions and receive extra help when needed.

“Counts is always so willing to help me when I do not understand homework or any specific concept,” Lien said. “Her classroom is full of reassurance and support.”

Counts translates her teaching methods into competitive matches between students.

“My favorite thing about Counts’ math class is playing row vs. row,” Lien said. “Row vs. row is a hands-on learning game, competing with other peers to see who understands the most math vocabulary. Winning this will get you an additional five points on a quiz or test.”

Recently Counts visited a new oncologist to get a check-up. During the visit, Counts was reminded of God’s goodness and grace.

“I went to this new oncologist my husband recommended for me,” Counts said. “As he was going through my medical records, he looked me dead in the eye and told me ‘you won the lottery.’ I was confused for a split second, then it clicked.  I should not be here. God is merciful and miraculous.”

Counts is now living her fullest life serving God as a math teacher at Fresno Christian. She serve as a true example of perseverance and faith in her unfailing God.

To read more from The Feather, go to Feather staff steps into editor roles or Double the talent with the Adams duo.

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    Angie CountsMay 23, 2022 at 10:57 am

    Thanks Aribella for your careful and thought article about me! Loved it! C

    Reply