Name: Crystal Wright
High School: Eagles Landing High School (Henry County)
College (Current or Future): Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Major/Intended Major: Interdisciplinary Studies/Nursing
Financial Aid Program: Zell Miller Grant
Each institution within the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) annually presents the Georgia Occupational Award for Leadership (GOAL) to students who are not only achieving academic excellence, but active within their communities.
Before Crystal Wright could begin assisting others within her community, she turned her attention to her own family.
“I am the oldest of five children and took on a lot of responsibilities when my parents divorced,” said Wright, who was awarded the HOPE Scholarship in 2002 to help pay for her tuition at Clark Atlanta University (CAU). “During my time at CAU, I found it very difficult to focus on my educational goals due to family strife.
“My mother fell into a very deep depression and I made the decision to leave school to take care of both my mother and my siblings.”
Wright worked many jobs to support her family, but never lost her desire for a medical career. Once her siblings finished high school, she was able to refocus on her educational dreams.
“When I was ready to go back to school, I ran into the financial hurdle of not being able to afford it,” said Wright, who learned about the Zell Miller Grant and other state programs during her admissions to Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC). “I realized that I had many options I was unaware of and I could still become a nurse.”
Eliminating concerns about financing allowed Wright to earn her initial nursing assistant certification and become a licensed practical nurse. She showcased her abilities last April at the Statewide SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference where she won the gold medal in the Practical Nursing competition.
This was one of many things that led her nursing instructor, Kaye Henry, to nominate Wright for the GPTC GOAL.
“She is an inspiration to me and I know she will be an inspiration to everyone else,” said Henry. “Although she has overcome a lot while in this program, she was determined to excel.”
Wright is determined to obtain her Master’s degree and become a registered psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. With this position, she can focus on helping aid in the recovery of psychiatric disorders and reduce associated stigmas of receiving mental health treatment.
“I have worked so hard to get to where I am today (with) many setbacks,” said Wright. “But I kept striving for what it is that I’ve wanted – and here I am today and so happy!”