It would be hard to find a more deserving student than Dann. Homeschooled through the eighth-grade level, she had to take a year away from her education to help her family care for her dying grandfather.
“Instead of going out with friends,” she says, “I had to spend my free time helping my family and doing household chores. Cancer wasn’t stealing only my grandfather’s life, but also my family’s. I realized then that achieving my full potential would take extraordinary self-discipline.”
Rappahannock Community College student Mikelah M. Dann has been awarded no fewer than seven generous scholarships, two administered by RCC’s Educational Foundation and the others coming from outside sources, to support her continuing education.
“That experience,” Dann continues, “though difficult, was how I found nursing, and a passion for helping people. From then on I couldn’t stop volunteering” — at the local hospital and nursing homes, with her church youth group, and with the National Honor Society at Essex High School, where she enrolled after her sabbatical year.
“For my entire high school career, I have worked above and beyond what was required. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot, but I feel better prepared to handle college, and ultimately a medical career.”
As Dann’s family is not well off, she regards paying for college as her responsibility. To supplement her scholarship awards, she works 16 to 20 hours a week as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) at The Orchard, an assisted-living facility in Warsaw. Added to a full load of classes, this makes for a schedule that she admits is “challenging”; but, she says, “education is very important to me, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to further it.”
“I pursued the CNA course,” she states, “so that I could see nursing in a real-world situation, and understand what it’s really like.” She earned this credential through the Northern Neck Technical Center.
Dann’s reason for choosing RCC, she says frankly, was “to stay out of debt — and I had heard great things about the classes here.” After completing her “core courses,” she plans to continue with the bachelor’s degree program at Bon Secours, where she hopes to specialize in obstetric nursing.
The seven scholarships Dann has won are:
- The Families First Association Georgia E. Green and Gladys Pauline Young Scholarship
- The Northern Neck Association of Realtors Scholarship
- The Northern Neck Vo-Tech Education Foundation Scholarship
- The St. John’s Episcopal Church Fairfax and Sally Settle Memorial Scholarship
- The St. Timothy Catholic Church Scholarship
- The Woman’s Club of Essex County Catesby and Lila Maddox Ware Memorial Scholarship
- The Wright Family Commonwealth Legacy Scholarship.
An additional honor she has received was having a photograph that she took chosen as the college’s official greeting card image for the upcoming holidays.