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Regional scholarship recipient closer to achieving her dream

GRANDVIEW – On the road to earning a college degree, Carmen Perez of Grandview has had a few setbacks, but that hasn’t kept the young mother of three from pursuing her dream.

Perez, a nursing student at Heritage University, was recently awarded a $1,000 Soroptimist International of the Lower Valley and a $3,000 Regional Women of Achievement Award.

“These scholarships means I will be able to continue my education through summer semester,” Perez said.

She receives financial aid for much of the school year, but “…the summer quarter is not covered by my financial aid,” she explained.

A senior at Heritage University, she will graduate in December with a degree in public nursing. But her desire to be in the medical field doesn’t end there.

“I want to continue on to specialize in maternity nursing (the caring of mother and baby),” Perez explained.

She said she became interested in becoming a nurse at the birth of her oldest child. “The nurses were very caring and I was inspired by them,” she said.

She said the birth of her second child didn’t provide the same feeling. “But it was then that I became motivated to become the best nurse I could be,” Perez explained.

Taking care of people is something with which Perez has a lot of experience. Beginning at age 15, she helped to raise her two younger sisters following the tragic drowning deaths of her mother and baby sister in December 2001 near Prosser. By the time she was 16, she had her own baby, but that didn’t keep her from moving ahead with her own education.

Perez attended Running Start at Yakima Valley Community College in Grandview while completing her high school career at Prosser High School.

She went on to attend YVCC, earning a degree in phlebology in 2008 and then decided to continue her schooling by becoming a nursing student at Heritage University.

“The $4,000 from the Soroptimists is a godsend,” Perez said. “I’d been praying since January about how I might be able to attend school this summer. Now I can go.”

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