Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

Clinical Health (CTE) Student Earns Full Scholarship

June 27, 2022 -- Alyana Cunningham originally thought about being a doctor, but decided she could actually do more good as a nurse. “I want to help people, not just physically, but emotionally.”

The class of 2022 graduate is well on her way, having earned a full scholarship to attend the Ursuline College Breen School of Nursing as part of the ASPIRE Nurse Scholars Program. The partnership between Ursuline and the Cleveland Clinic enrolls high school juniors in a pre-nursing enrichment program.

Alyana was also enrolled in Heights High’s Clinical Health Careers courses, one of the many Career and Technical Education (CTE) offerings at the high school. Her teacher, Nancy Ballou, helps students apply for the ASPIRE program, knowing it can lead to a full ride to Ursuline for one student each year in addition to exposing them to the real world of nursing.

Alyana has already explored various specialties, spent time in an operating room work, and had the opportunity to talk with nurses in a variety of fields. She intends to work in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to help ease the suffering of the youngest critical patients. 

“I’m worried about the stress of seeing kids suffering, but that’s why I want to be there: to help,” said the wise-beyond-her-years 16 year old. She plans to live at home her first year since she’s still so young and to work as a Patient Care Nurse Assistant (PCNA) at the Cleveland Clinic.

Alyana is grateful that Ms. Ballou introduced her to the ASPIRE program, among other things. “She’s an open ear, an open mind, and helps us whenever we need it,” she said of her teacher’s interactions with the nursing students. “We’ve created a community.”

Having her tuition fully covered is a huge help to Alyana and her mother. “It means a lot,” she said. “Now I feel like I can help my mom instead of her always helping me.” 
Class of 2022, Alyana Cunningham

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