Imagine you are a student, asked to attend an important meeting, only to discover that meeting offered a surprise so unexpected, it would dramatically change your life.
That’s exactly what happened at Signature Healthcare’s Brockton Hospital School of Nursing (SH/BHSON) in Brockton. During an emotional presentation, BayCoast Bank awarded seven nursing students from Fall River and New Bedford each with a $10,000 scholarship, which will help pay for their education at the prestigious nursing school.
“We had no idea this was happening,” said Raylyn Gant of Fall River. “We received an email saying we had to go to a mandatory meeting. This was a big surprise.”
Students selected for the generous awards have experienced unique challenges in their pursuit of a quality education, said Dean of SH/BHSON Jean Gouveia.
“The majority of our students come to us with significant financial need. Many are parents and single parents looking for a career pathway to achieve financial security for themselves and their families.”
Each recipient shared their personal stories, along with their heartfelt gratitude.
“I’m the first one to go to college from my household,” said Ashley Del Rio of New Bedford. “College means a lot to me. I work to pay everything on my own. This scholarship means so much. I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
For Sarah Cortijo, a mother of three from Fall River, this has been an extremely difficult year.
“I lost my dad to COVID-19 last February, so it has been very tough,” said Cortijo. “For me to get this scholarship, I am so emotional. I can’t tell you how grateful I am.”
Gant had a personal reason for aspiring to become a nurse. “My older brother was born with special needs and the doctor told my mother he wouldn’t survive past three months. He’s now 31, and he inspires me every day.”
The scholarship, Gant said, will help her pursue her dream of becoming a neonatal intensive care unit nurse. “This means the world to me. I have been so stressed out about paying for school. This is amazing.”
The scholarship opportunity evolved after SH/BHSON reached out to BayCoast Bank, asking if they could assist talented students who were experiencing financial difficulties.
“BayCoast Bank has a strong history of supporting education on the South Coast, and we pride ourselves in giving back to the communities we serve,” said Nicholas M. Christ, President and CEO of BayCoast Bank. “This gift highlights two key areas where we endeavor to make a difference – education and healthcare. Achieving a nursing degree will not only help these students support themselves and their families, but it will also benefit our healthcare system and the local residents it serves.”
Brockton Hospital School of Nursing is an integral part of Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital. Originally established in 1897, the school has been at the forefront of nursing education and has graduated over 2,700 nurses, mainly from southeastern Massachusetts. It is the only hospital-based nursing school of its kind in Massachusetts.