Valerie Walker of Blackshear was recently selected as a recipient of the Dr. Shirley D. Miller Scholarship for Okefenokee Technical College. Walker is a recent graduate of the OTC practical nursing program and used the award money toward the cost of the nursing licensure exam.
Valerie plans to work and continue her education in order to eventually earn an RN (Registered Nurse) degree. She expressed her sincere appreciation to the OTC Foundation and Mr. Ray Miller, former president of Okefenokee Technical College, for establishing the scholarship.
Toward the end of her last semester, one of Valerie’s three children was diagnosed with a condition that required the family to travel to Emory in Atlanta for treatments. According to Walker, the scholarship money was a true blessing, since the money she and her husband had saved for the nursing exam was used during one of the trips to the doctor.
Valerie recalls that she panicked when she learned that she had been accepted into the nursing program because, as a wife and mother of three, she had numerous responsibilities and a lot to do in order to begin the program. “…but all of the work got done and was possible because of the support and encouragement I received from the staff at OTC. OTC may be a small town college, but it makes big dreams come true.”
Cindy Tanner, OTC Foundation executive director, stated that Valerie said she had heard a lot of stories about Dr. Miller from one of her instructors, Theresa Henry.
“Dr. Miller is a beloved retired educator who made a positive impact on the nursing field and who helped advance nursing careers in our community,” continued Tanner. “Through this scholarship fund, she continues to support and help students enter the nursing profession.”
“I hope Dr. Miller reads this article,” continued Tanner, “and realizes that her teaching legacy continues lives on and that she continues to reach students through the nursing graduates she and Mrs. Willene Griffin-Fox influenced over the years.”
The Dr. Shirley D. Miller Scholarship was established to recognize deserving nursing students and Dr. Shirley Dowling Miller’s twenty-five year tenure at OTC.
The scholarship award is given to help students pay the fee required for the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses). The NCLEX is developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and measures the competencies needed to perform safely and effectively as a newly licensed, entry-level nurse.
OTC Interim President Dr. Glenn Deibert, OTC Foundation trustees, and Brenda Kirkland, OTC’s nursing program director, would like to thank those who have donated to the Foundation and the Miller fund.
Photo: Valerie Walker, a recent graduate of the OTC nursing program, accepts an award from OTC Foundation Director Cindy Tanner (right), who congratulated her for being selected as a recipient of a Dr. Shirley D. Miller Scholarship.