Scholarship recipients on the right course

Crystal Vicidomini, a nursing student at Delaware Technical Community College, recently received both the George and Marilyn Chabbott Scholarship and a Bayhealth Scholarship. (Submitted photos)

DOVER — Without determination and goals, the hardships of life can often deflate even the highest hopes. Still, sometimes determination and goals aren’t enough. Occasionally, we need the help of others.

And while their stories and challenges were different, Kent County residents Joe Pflumm, Crystal Vicidomini, and Suzanna Knotts are all grateful for the help they have received.

Mr. Pflumm might have been kept from achieving his goals because of the challenges he faced, but for Ms. Vicidomini and Ms. Knotts, it was the challenges themselves that put them on the road toward theirs. In any case, their stories intersected on March 29 at a Donor Appreciation Lunch at Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus in Dover.

While pursuing a degree in electromechanical engineering technology at Delaware Tech, Mr. Pflumm was in a serious automobile accident that almost short-circuited his life and career. With his employment suspended, he was able to secure emergency funding supported by Del-One Federal Credit Union, and was awarded the Wallace Family Scholarship.

“Their investment in me allows me to pay my bills, cover expenses and … come to school ready to give my best,” Mr. Pflumm said during the luncheon.

The 33-year-old former U.S. marine also received help from the Friends of Delaware Veterans Inc, whose Veterans Trust Fund program granted $1,500 to cover Mr. Pflumm’s rent for three months.

Ms. Vicidomini was not really sure what she wanted to do in life. Her father’s death when she was just 10 made life challenging financially for her and her two sisters.

“My mom did the best she could with three children to raise,” she said. But the reality included charity food boxes from the local church.

After high school, Ms. Vicidomini considered joining the military, but decided against it. So she traveled the path of

While pursuing a degree in electromechanical engineering technology at Delaware Tech, Joe Pflumm was in a serious automobile accident. With his employment suspended, he was able to secure emergency funding supported by Del-One Federal Credit Union, and was awarded the Wallace Family Scholarship.

jobs as a retail clerk and a waitress for a while. She was working for a bank when she realized it wasn’t something she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She was 23. A friend suggested she look into nursing and the path became clear .

“I like helping people and making a difference. I liked having a purpose and a career. Nursing just checked all those boxes for me,” she said.

Ms. Vicidomini had not really thought about nursing as a career until then. She knew there was always a need for nurses, but she also knew it would be hard. Yet, “the combination of the timing, motivation and a wonderful program at Delaware Tech,” worked for her. She received both the George and Marilyn Chabbott Scholarship and a Bayhealth Scholarship.

She also received some help from her boyfriend. “I told him, ‘You can stick around if you want, but I’m not going to get engaged before I see this through.’” He did stick around and is now her husband.

“I couldn’t have done it without him. He supported me emotionally and sometimes financially,” she said.

Two weeks after passing her state boards, she began her career as an registered nurse at Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital.

“It’s where I was born,” she said. “I knew I wanted to work there.”

Ms. Vicidomini will be earning a dual Masters degree in Business Administration and Nursing from Wilmington University this August.

For former Marine Ms. Knotts, the greatest challenge came with the birth of her son in 2014. Born with meconium aspiration syndrome and resulting complications from the breathing difficulty, he was in the neonatal intensive care for three weeks. During that time, she watched as the nurses cared for her son and offered support to her.

She had been a photojournalist in the Marine Corps, but with a new-found passion, Ms. Knotts enrolled in the nursing program at Delaware Tech using her military education benefit as well as a scholarship from Del-One Federal Credit Union.

Now her goal is to work with mothers and their babies.

Suzanna Knotts enrolled in the nursing program at Delaware Tech using her military education benefit as well as a scholarship from Del-One Federal Credit Union.

“The nurses I met not only helped save my son’s life, but they gave me peace of mind during the worst time of my life. I will never be able to thank them enough, but I hope by becoming a nurse I can somehow pay it forward.”

Ms. Knotts’ second child is due in August, so she won’t be attending classes to finish the program this fall. Instead, she will be working ahead, taking online classes for her BSN, which she hopes to pursue after finishing the current program in the spring.

“Life will always through you curve balls” she offers. “The important thing is to realize it and not let it get you down. If you’re lacking inspiration, look inside yourself, look around you. If you’re determined, you will get through it.”

Dee Marvin Emeigh is a freelance writer living in the Milford area.

 

 

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