BOONE — When Rachel Plott’s youngest son needed life-saving surgery at only six weeks old, it was the kindness shown by a member of the hospital staff that inspired her to go back to school.
“The admitting nurse left such an impact on me that I decided to go to nursing school to give back what was given to me in the form of comfort, encouragement and love,” she said.
Eight years later, Plott has completed nursing school on Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Watauga Campus and already has a job at Watauga Medical Center. During her time at CCC&TI, Plott’s positive attitude and hard work so impressed her instructors that she was chosen as winner of the college’s annual Academic Excellence Award.
“She is one of the most considerate and respectful students on the Watauga Campus,” Nursing Instructor and Clinical Coordinator Jane Arendas said. “I would want her taking care of my sick family members.”
Plott, who lives in Fleetwood with her husband and two children, graduated on May 10 with an associate’s degree in nursing and is preparing to take a licensure exam to become a registered nurse. On May 15, she was presented with the college’s Academic Excellence medallion and plaque, one of 58 community college students statewide to receive the award.
As a wife and mother, balancing the rigorous nursing program with family and work responsibilities was challenging. But she credits the college’s faculty and staff, as well as financial help from the foundation of CCC&TI, for helping her succeed.
“I feel that I would have been left behind at any other college nursing program,” she said. “I looked at various colleges and CCC&TI was the most welcoming and helpful. They encouraged me and gave me the tools I needed to pursue the career I desired.”