Stellarton native realizes dream of becoming LPN

Thirty-five years after graduating high school, Karen Smith returns to school at NSCC Pictou Campus

Stellarton native realizes dream of becoming  LPN

Karen Smith stands in front of NSCC Pictou Campus

“Follow your destiny wherever it leads you and enjoy your journey.” ~ Karen Smith

Fast Fact

The Adult Learning Program is flexible enough to meet the needs of many students, with full-time and part-time options as well as options for African-Canadians and those needing help with the English language.

In her valedictory speech, Karen Smith gave graduates some sage advice: remember all that NSCC has taught you and use those skills to make an impact on the world.

“Believe in yourself,” she urged. “Follow your destiny wherever it leads you and enjoy your journey.” With those words, Karen fulfilled a promise she’d made to herself when she was 12. But another 35 years would pass before she could pursue her nursing dream.

A high-school dropout from Stellarton, Karen says no one really encouraged her to stay in class. She married young and worked as a line cook to add to her husband’s fluctuating wages.

Over the years, Karen longed to return to school. The plan got delayed when a beloved aunt fell sick and Karen spent nine years looking after her.

Heading to NSCC

In 2011, Karen enrolled in the Adult Learning Program at NSCC’s Pictou Campus. It was the first step in reviving her dream. Three days in, her father was diagnosed with cancer but he persuaded her to stick with her studies.

Karen received two awards, never dreaming she’d also end up valedictorian. Then she graduated with honours from NSCC’s two-year Practical Nursing program.

Inspiring others

Today, she works as an LPN at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow.

Debbie Cameron studied with Karen in both NSCC programs. She remembers her friend’s dedication to her books in their early-morning library sessions. Karen also lent her support during the challenges Debbie faced raising an autistic son.

“I’m very thankful to have a person like Karen in my life, that I can rely on and remain friends with, and still support each other after we’ve completed our course and started our new career and our new lives,” says Debbie.

“Knowing what we’ve gone through and what it takes to be able to pull it off when you’re older, like us, that’s challenging in itself.”

25/09/14

“Follow your destiny wherever it leads you and enjoy your journey.” ~ Karen Smith

Fast Fact

The Adult Learning Program is flexible enough to meet the needs of many students, with full-time and part-time options as well as options for African-Canadians and those needing help with the English language.

Comments

My aunt is inspiring so many people, we are so proud of her and her achievements!! 2014-10-10 16:50:45
Ashley Coady-Deagle

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