2007 Scholardhip Winner Naekia Rowley
Naekia Rowley - Scholarship Recipient
"I was born to help people, all I had to do was figure out why" ~ Naekia
Born as a minority, where parents lacked a higher level of education, things were not easy for Naekia from the beginning. She was raised in a single parent household with her mom working long hours as a Certified Nursing Assistant making only $6.00 per hour. Her father scraped by doing migrant work. Naekia and her siblings were forced to live with her grandparents.
At first, life seemed comfortable with her grandparents and her grandmother was a daily inspiration for Naekia. But the days of content were quickly replaced by tragedy. Her grandfather underwent surgery for throat cancer and her grandmother suffered a heart attack right in front of her. Naekia became the caretaker for her grandparents, the parent for her siblings and the family provider of for all of them.
During this trying time, Naekia still understood the importance of education and enrolled in Palm Beach Community College where she earned a high school and college credit simultaneously. She maintained a 3.8 GPA and ranked number four in a class of 220. National Honor Society, Student Council, Twenty Pearls of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Youth Court, Project Good Fit and Dean's list are among her amazing list of awards and activities.
And she worked part-time at Payless shoe store.
Surprisingly, Naekia's career path was revealed to her. For seven long days she had laid by her side watching her grandmother suffer in a vegetative state, without being able to assist her. "As badly as I wanted to help, all I could do was sit there and hold her hand during her final moments." Her goal was to become a nurse and continue her caregiving efforts as a career.
Now this amazing young woman is enrolled in Florida Atlantic University's Nursing School.
Naekia reflects, "I have learned that there is no challenge that I cannot face and no current that will wash my tenaciousness away. I am ready to succeed, and the foundation has been formed in the making of my character."
Submitted by Morgan Green, Volunteer