Recently, I read an article published in the December 2013 Say Yes to Education newsletter - Say Yes Scholar Honored by St. Joseph’s College of Nursing. As I read the story about Joshua Campbell, written by Kathy Sims of Say Yes, I could not help but reflect on how important scholarships are to help defray the cost of higher education – tuition, textbooks and living accommodations.
For Joshua – a Say Yes student who attends St. Joseph’s College of Nursing – the Joanne Paino Walker Memorial Scholarship award he received in the Fall holds a more personal significance.
Funded by Edward “Dusty” Walker of Holden, MA, in memory of his wife, the Joanne Paino Walker Scholarship is offered to a student who has overcome obstacles dealing with diabetes. Dusty’s wife, Joanne, was a graduate of St. Joseph’s College of Nursing and the first student admitted with diabetes. She went on to do a number of notable things in nursing, including teaching CPR to nearly 5,000 students over the course of her lifetime.
Josh won the scholarship as the result of an essay he wrote about his father who is diabetic.
The essay focused on a time when his father was not managing his blood sugar well and Josh, a senior at Henninger High School, found him unresponsive. He was hyperglycemic and in a diabetic coma. Josh called an ambulance to get medical attention for his father but explains that, “at the time, I thought diabetes was something that wasn’t too serious, all you needed was a ‘shot’ and everything would be OK.” He said he shudders to think how he “would have felt if I came home to see him lying there, still.’’
Inspired by his high school teachers, who he credits with helping him get into St. Joseph’s College of Nursing where he is now in his second year of a Dual Degree program, Josh is working toward an AAS in applied science with a major in nursing. Josh will be eligible to sit for his registered nurse license after he graduates in May, 2014 after which he plans to continue his education at Le Moyne College working toward a BS degree in nursing.
Inspired by this story, I did a little research and learned that St. Joseph’s College of Nursing has 15 designated scholarship funds and awards 50-60 individual scholarships for continuing education each academic year. This means that donors who have established scholarship funds for nursing education at St. Joseph’s have helped to provide financial support for approximately one-half of the 100 new nurses who graduate from the College each year to defray the costs associated with their education.
Defraying the cost of a nursing education is especially significant to financially disadvantaged individuals who hope to attend nursing school. For some recipients, a scholarship can make the difference in allowing them to focus less on financial worries and more on their academic studies. What an incredible gift to give a college student – they support their need to pursue and achieve their aspirations!
What a difference these donors are making in the lives of so many aspiring students!