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Former High School Drop-Out Never Gives Up on Dream to Be a Nurse

Sep 8

Sept. 8, 2020 - Cheryl Andrews of Hamlet says her story may be all too familiar for many young women. Alumni photo of registered nurse Cheryl AndrewsShe dropped out of high school and married at an early age. By 21, she had two children, and any type of career was nowhere on the horizon.

“I was always a good student and was disappointed in myself for not graduating high school, but I already had two children and was trying to be a better parent,” Andrews said.

In the early 1990s, she made the first step toward a career plan. She enrolled in the Adult Education program at Richmond Community College and obtained her GED.

“My intention was to further my education beyond the high school diploma. However, I allowed life to get in the way,” Andrews said.

Her children were in middle school when she made the decision to start working again toward her lifelong goal: becoming a registered nurse.

“I’ve always been a nurse to the core. As young as 5 years old, I tried to nurse my mother when she had a flair up of gout. At 11 years old, my family was in a car accident, and I took over as care taker for my mother and brother,” Andrews said. “I simply care for people. That’s the best part.”

Andrews said she chose to enroll at RichmondCC because its nursing program had an outstanding reputation for producing the best nurses in North Carolina. Graduating from the Associate Degree Nursing program in 2002, she is now a registered nurse working in the Intensive Care Unit for FirstHealth Richmond Memorial.

“When I took my first position as a registered nurse, I felt very prepared and most competent,” she said.

Now, 18 years later, Andrews has decided to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Appalachian State University.

“Once again, I’m taking general education courses at RichmondCC in preparation for college transfer,” she said. “I love RichmondCC because it has a caring faculty and staff who give you every opportunity to be successful.”

Nursing Programs

RichmondCC offers Practical Nursing (PN) and Associate Degree Nursing (ADN), as well as two pathways to becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant. For more information about the nursing or other health programs, contact Dean of Allied Health and Human Services Janet Sims at (910) 410-1889 or The deadline to apply for the 2021 fall PN or ADN classes is Jan. 31, 2021.

Adult Education

RichmondCC’s Adult Education classes are offered for free. For those who complete their High School Diploma or High School Equivalency, RichmondCC will pay up to $1,000 in scholarship money for these students to continue on at RichmondCC for further education or career training. To learn more about this “Finish for Your Future” scholarship or enrolling in Adult Education programs at RichmondCC, call (910) 410-1771 in Richmond County or (910) 410-1831 in Scotland County.

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