Clive Perry says he didn’t truly know what stress was until he enrolled in Polk State College’s rigorous Nursing Program. He had a similar realization when the uncertainty of how to pay for school became an additional burden of worry that he would not be able to persevere toward his degree. But with the support of his professors and the Polk State College Foundation, Perry has persisted on his path to becoming a highly skilled healthcare professional despite obstacles presented by the pandemic.
Perry emigrated from Jamaica in 2014 with his mother who helps to pay for his college courses. She was working as a housekeeper when the COVID-19 public health emergency impacted the hospitality and travel industries, leaving Perry’s mother out of work.
After sharing his story with Professor of Nursing Lynda Schaak and Accounting Specialist Sherryann Jones, the Foundation awarded Perry the Devon M. and Louise B. Hizer Trust Scholarship to help alleviate some of the financial burden of tuition.
“Nursing school is stressful enough. Adding the stresses of how I was going to pay for my classes and how we were going to provide our basic needs to live was really difficult,” Perry said. “The Foundation providing me with the funds I needed for my classes has truly impacted my life. I will never forget this.”
“Polk State prepares you to be the best nurse you can be. Now that I am in clinicals, I am seeing firsthand how Polk State nurses are held to a high standard and put on a pedestal for being the best of the best.”
Perry holds a degree in engineering from his home country and achieved a Polk State Associate in Science in Computer Systems and Business Analysis, but Perry wants to work more on his feet and be on the frontlines of helping others.
He recommends the Polk State Nursing Program to all aspiring nurses but warns that it is “no joke.” Polk State Nursing maintains a reputation of excellence with graduates boasting a 100 percent pass rate on the NCLEX-RN compared to the state’s 76 percent and nation’s 89 percent rates.
“I don’t think I ever cried until Nursing I when I failed a course,” Perry said. “I cried to my mom and told her I didn’t want to waste any more of her money and that I would go back to Jamaica. But she told me everything was going to be OK and that we were going to get through this.”
Perry overcame the challenges of Nursing I – and Nursing II and III. Now as a Nursing IV student participating in clinicals at AdventHealth Sebring, Perry is on track to graduate in December 2020 with his Polk State Associate in Science in Nursing.
“Polk State prepares you to be the best nurse you can be,” he said. “Now that I am in clinicals, I am seeing firsthand how Polk State nurses are held to a high standard and put on a pedestal for being the best of the best.”
Perry is enjoying his time learning in the Emergency Room, where he is challenged to think on his feet and can be the first level of care for people in need.
After graduation, he plans to serve as a registered nurse while pursuing his Polk State Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Perry recently shared his story with the Polk State Foundation Board of Directors and thanked the Foundation’s donors for their support of students like him. The Foundation awards approximately $1.3 million in scholarships to about 1,500 students each year.
“The scholarship from the Foundation really helped to ease my stress and allows me to put more energy into doing well in my courses. I really didn’t know how I would be able to continue my classes.”
“The scholarship from the Foundation really helped to ease my stress and allows me to put more energy into doing well in my courses,” he shared. “I really didn’t know how I would be able to continue my classes.”
“I hope that one day I will be able to provide assistance to future students who could possibly be facing financial difficulties.”
Donations can be made to the Polk State Foundation to support students like Perry by going online to foundation.polk.edu.