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Brookings caregiver receives college scholarship in name of person she once cared for

Shannon Tew
Shannon Tew

BROOKINGS, OR – If you have a dream and are committed to it, dreams can come true. That dream did come true for Shannon Tew, a two-year resident of Brookings.

An employee of the medical field for about thirteen years, Tew has worked as a caregiver, certified nurse assistant (CNA), and other various positions. Tew currently works as a medication aide and care giver for an assisted living home.

“I love working with and caring for people,” Tew said.  “Working with people fills my heart with joy. Nursing has always been a goal of mine since I was little. I watch the nurses I work with and I know that’s the job for me.”

Tew is a single mother who aims to be a good example for her 12 year-old daughter and to enrich their lives.

Tew shared some time with Maxine Smith at an assisted living home. Smith was a local advocate of education. While caring for Smith, Tew talked many nights about education with her.

I love working with and caring for people,” Tew said.

“My inspirations come from the people I care for,” Tew said. “Maxine would tell me to go back to school, pursue my dreams and to not wait any longer to do so. She also told me that I would make a wonderful nurse.”

The confidence that she built up from those conversations led her to seek out the Southwestern Oregon Community College Curry Campus where in six months she had earned her GED. Upon graduation in May of 2009 from the program, she was awarded 12 free credits toward advanced education at Southwestern.

She had struggled to successfully manage to balance work, home, and school. She now had to also balance finances as continuing education entered into her short-term plans.

My inspirations come from the people I care for,” Tew said.

The 12-credit award was nice, but, as a single mother, she found it very difficult to come up with the additional finances necessary to go to college. With a minimal income and having applied late for financial aid, she turned to the Southwestern Foundation for help.  Her scholarship application was selected for the Maxine Smith Scholarship, as well as a Gordon Elwood Scholarship and Bezzerides scholarship, that would help make up the difference.

As of Fall Term, Tew is taking prerequisite classes for nursing with the aspiration of continuing with a Masters in Nursing. Having debated when was the right time to go back to school for her and her daughter, now that she is achieving that ambition, she is excited about the future for her and her family.

Tew’s long term goals are to become a registered nurse and then to continue her education to become a nurse practitioner.

“I have accomplished more in the last two years here in Brookings than I have in the past ten years of my life,” said Tew. “This community, the college, and the scholarships have helped me change my life.”

“There are simply not enough words to express how I feel about receiving the Maxine Smith Award. It’s people like Maxine that help me be the best care giver possible. I can hardly wait to be the best Nurse I can be.”

If you would like to help someone attain their educational goals by endowing a scholarship or making a contribution of any size to the scholarship fund, please contact the Southwestern Foundation at 541-888-7211.



Published Nov 10, 2009 (Updated Feb 23, 2012)

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