Video Conferencing Helps Former Warren Student With Cancer Attend School

 Peyton Walton participates w/video conferencing in a fifth grade reading lesson with former classmates, (L-R) Laura Matos, Dylan Simon, Jaime Lippitt, and Daniel Gerges Credits: Mary Ann McGann
Former Woodland student Peyton Walton raises her hand via video conferencing to participate in the group discussion. Credits: Mary Ann McGann

WARREN, NJ - Woodland School fifth-graders sat in groups of four and five on Dec. 7, discussing “A Dog’s Life: The Autobiography of a Stray’ by Ann M. Martin as part of a seemingly typical reading lesson.

Not so typical was the video conferencing equipment in a corner of the classroom that allows a former classmate, 10-year-old Peyton Walton, to join in the conversation from her home 200 miles south in Maryland.

“I think the author wants to show what stray dogs have to go through when they are separated from their family,” Peyton says, in response to a question from a fellow student.

Sign Up for E-News

Peyton was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer in June as she and her family were relocating from New Jersey to Maryland. She had immediate surgery to remove a large tumor, followed by rounds of chemotherapy and radiation in Washington D.C. and New York.

Hoping to “give Peyton a chance to feel like a normal kid,” Woodland fifth grade teacher Colleen Krumm invited her former student to participate in so-called Accountable Talk sessions, a student-centered approach to reading that encourages students to think more deeply about the text and to ask and respond to higher level thinking questions.

“Peyton is a keen observer and very mature for her age,” says Krumm who taught 4th grade last year. Peyton and many of Krumm’s current students were in her class.

The equipment used to connect Peyton to her friends at Woodland is on loan from Cisco, arranged by Stephen Krause, a Woodland parent who works for the technology company.

“Peyton misses a lot of school and the ability to participate in classroom activities virtually continues her growth and progress so that she can make a smoother transition when she returns to school on a regular basis,” Krumm says. “Her mom always tells me that she really enjoys our sessions and talks about them long after they’ve ended.”

 Peyton also uses a robot she controls with an app to attend her new school in Maryland. Her face appears on an iPad screen attached to the rolling base that enables her to see and hear her teacher and classmates and to respond back. It has made her somewhat of a celebrity. She has appeared in print and television media reports, most recently in the Washington Post.

“I really like math and science, so I just like being there and learning what they have to teach me,” she told Washington Post reporter Donna St. George, about using the robot she calls PAVS for “Peyton’s Awesome Virtual Self.”

Both communities – new and old - have rallied behind Peyton and her family. To date, a GoFundMe fundraiser has generated more than $20,000 to pay for Peyton’s robot and to offset her medical costs. Friends and family in Warren participated in a “5K Walk for Peyton” in October.

On this particular Monday, dialed in remotely to her former school, Peyton wears her signature knit hat. (This one is striped red/white.) She listens intently as her group discusses the novel, raising her hand when she wishes to contribute. As the lesson comes to a close, her friends gather round to wave goodbye. She smiles and waves back.

“Peyton has been in and out of hospitals,” says Krumm. “She didn’t have much time to get to know her new friends in Maryland and I know she missed her friends here in New Jersey. This technology gives her the opportunity at some normalcy.”




TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Somerset Regional Animal Shelter Offering July Adoption Promotion for Cats/Kittens

July 10, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, in Bridgewater, is urgently looking for homes for its cats and kittens.

According to a release from the shelter, the population surges throughout the summer during kitten breeding season, and so the shelter is launching a special promotion to help increase cat and kitten adoptions. During the month of July, all cats and kittens that over ...

Do You Recognize These Dogs?

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Two dogs were found in Plainfield near the fire station on Central Avenue on Saturday. 

The dogs are currently with a family in South Plainfield.  If you recognize the dogs, please email TAPinto Plainfield at

A Hidden Gem in the Suburbs – Spring Academy Montessori Pre-School helps children reach their full potential by fostering an innate love of learning!

July 16, 2018

Located on a quiet residential street in Warren, NJ, Spring Academy Montessori Preschool opened its doors to the public in late November 2016.  Spring Academy wanted to fill a niche that was missing in the community -- a pre-school with a Montessori philosophy combined with an emphasis on language immersion.  Since then, parents have been coming from all over to enroll their children in ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, July 18, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Four to Feature Brahms

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, October 3, 7:00 PM

SCLSNJ's Warren Township Library branch, Warren

A History of the Old Presbyterian Graveyard in ...

Government Other


Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

Get Ready Warren: Fireworks, Food and Family Fun At Mt. Carmel Feast

July 13, 2018

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. – It’s time again for the annual Mt. Carmel Feast, a four-day festival full of food, music, games, rides, fireworks, and other family fun, located at Mt. Carmel Field in Berkeley Heights.

The fairgrounds will be open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, July 13 through Monday, July 16. Those four nights will include concerts, games, and ...

Somerset Regional Animal Shelter Offering July Adoption Promotion for Cats/Kittens

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, in Bridgewater, is urgently looking for homes for its cats and kittens.

According to a release from the shelter, the population surges throughout the summer during kitten breeding season, and so the shelter is launching a special promotion to help increase cat and kitten adoptions. During the month of July, all cats and kittens that over ...

A Guide to July 4: Fourth of July Fun Facts, a Video and Where to Find Independence Day Celebrations, Fireworks Displays

WARREN, NJ -  Independence Day 2018. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson penned words based on what he learned as a student of the enlightenment.  John Locke’s writings were ...

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

Viewing and Funeral Mass Set for 1-Year-Old Boy Killed in July 7 Crash, Fundraiser Established

July 16, 2018

RARITAN, NJ - A viewing for the 1-year-old Raritan boy killed on Anderson Street July 7 will be held this week at St. Ann Church in Raritan, according to an obituary released by the Bongiovi Funeral Home.

Matias Ortega-Rosales was killed on the evening of his first birthday when a vehicle hit two cars and then his family as he was being pushed in a stroller by his mother, Domitila Rosales.

Bedminster Woman Dies From Injuries After Being Struck by Car in Mall Parking Lot

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Bedminster woman has died from her injuries after being struck by a car in the parking lot of the Bridgewater Commons Mall Monday.

Marion Kelley, 62, was struck by a vehicle while walking in lot four near the Macy's merchandise pick up area at around 3:20 p.m. Monday.

The 2017 Mazda was driven by Chinmayi Parikh, 33, of Piscataway.

The crash is still being ...

County Kicks Off Summer Concert Series with Bob Miranda and the Happenings

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission kicked off its Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park Sunday with a performance by Bob Miranda and the Happenings.

A very large crowd turned out for the performance by the band made famous in part by the song "See You in September."

The next concert will be held July 15 at 7 p.m. at Duke Island Park, with Billy ...

Somerset County Flags at Half-Staff to Honor Grace Gurisic, First Woman Freeholder

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Somerset County will fly its flags at half-staff July 12 in memory of Grace A. Gurisic, who served as the county’s first woman freeholder more than half a century ago.

Gurisic passed away June 9; she was 84. Funeral services will be held 8:30 a.m. Thursday, July 12, from the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home in Wayne. A funeral mass will follow at St.

3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ set to Celebrate Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

July 14, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

Exchange Place and WTC PATH Stations to Close For Weekend Track Maintenance

JERSEY CITY, NJ - At least they waited until after the Fourth of July fireworks were over before starting.  

PATH stations at Exchange Place and the World Trade Center (WTC) will close at 11:59 p.m. this Friday, July 6, and remain closed until 5 a.m. Monday, July 9, to allow crews to transition to a new signal system being installed as part of the ...

Make the Call, Save a Life

July 10, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - There is much focus on preventative opioid abuse education. Rightfully so. However, the goal in addressing the opioid epidemic is saving lives. Even if that means just saving one life. While people are becoming increasingly aware of resources relating to rehabilitative services, support groups for friends and family of addicts, and training parents for signs of opioid and ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...