Dual enrollment pays off for Kennedy Woodard

Published 7:37 pm Monday, March 11, 2019

By Gabrielle Terrett

The Vicksburg Post

Kennedy Woodard proves that age does not define success. At 19, Woodard has done what many much older than her still aspire to do — go to nursing school, graduate and pass the Mississippi State Board of Nursing Exam.

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The Vicksburg High graduate is the first Hinds Community College/Vicksburg Warren School District dual enrolled license practical nursing student to pass the state board exam and become an LPN.

During her senior year, the high honor VHS graduate enrolled in the HCC LPN program in December 2018. She was also holding down a part-time job.

Just getting ready to take the state board exam was a chore.

“After I graduated, I had to wait a while on my transcript from Hinds until about January and by then I’d started my spring semester at Hinds,” Woodard said. “I was worried that I wasn’t going to have enough time to prepare for the test. I kept rescheduling my test date because I kept thinking ‘I’m not ready because I haven’t been studying’ because I had to go to work. Even the night before I took the test, I tried to reschedule but it wouldn’t let me so I had to go.”

Jumping into the nursing field was never a question when she decided to follow in the footsteps of the people she looked up to.

“I have two aunties and they’re both nurses,” she said. “One of them was actually in nursing school at the same time as me, but my oldest aunt is a nurse practitioner and she’s been a nurse for a while, so she’s really who got me interested.”

Woodard said she’s very proud of and excited in passing the state board exam, despite her personal doubts.

“I was ready,” Woodard said. “I felt like I knew I was going to do it but the fact that I actually did it was very shocking. It was hard with me coming from high school to college.

“It was a huge difference in how I had to study, but it was worth it. I’m just very thankful for my instructors because they did help me a lot along the way even when I went on to the adult classes.”

She credits two instructors in particular in helping her — Mechelle Chambliss and Gwen Brown.

“Even when I needed help in the adult classes, Ms. Chambliss would always say ‘I’m here if you ever need me or if you ever need anything you can just call me.’

“So both of them were a great help.”

Woodard has no plans of becoming a doctor, but does have more goals in her medical career.

“What I do plan to do is specialize in neonatal.

“Once I pass where I am now I plan to go back and get a doctorate in neonatal by applying to RN school through Hinds again and then I plan to go get the BSN through Alcorn.”

Woodard has advice for those students considering the nursing field through the dual enrollment program.

“Just do it,” Woodard said. “I always tell the kids in high school if they have the chance and want to be a nurse, just do it. I think it’s a great experience and it’s fast. It’s going to be difficult, but it’ll be worth it.”