Clovis man with cancer to receive honorary diploma

CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – A Clovis man who’s been battling brain cancer since he was 16 will receive an honorary high school diploma on Monday.

It’s a rite of passage for many teens, graduating high school and getting a diploma. While some may take the pomp and circumstance for granted, 20-year-old Zack Smith has a different outlook on getting the chance to don a cap and gown.

“Twenty years of my life and it’s like, a big accomplishment,” Zack said.

He’s been fighting aggressive brain cancer for about four years, and he’ll soon enter hospice care. Throughout his fight Zack continued his studies in the hopes of either graduating or getting his GED.

Recently he’s been studying through APS’ Home Hospital Program, which helps students with serious illnesses or injuries. His Home Hospital teacher approached the district about giving Zack an honorary diploma. Superintendent Winston Brooks will visit Zack’s hotel Monday to deliver the diploma.

Zack said he can’t think of a better gift for the woman who’s been by his side throughout his fight: his mom.

“I think it would be a great Mother’s Day gift to her, so I’m excited,” Zack said.

There’s still a lot he wants to do, but with his honorary diploma in hand, Zack said the sky’s the limit.

His graduation ceremony is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Monday. Several members of Zack’s family will be there, as well as his teacher. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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