Two local high school seniors were awarded the Johnson-Salazar Nursing Scholarship by the Matagorda Regional Medical Center (MRMC) Foundation in April 2017. The recipients were Madaline “Maddie” Jex – a 2017 graduate of Bay City High School, and Audry Kessler – a 2017 graduate of Palacios High School. Both ladies are pursuing degrees in nursing, which is a requirement of the scholarship.
Maddie, who currently attends Texas A&M University, was ranked 10th out of 222 students in her graduating class at Bay City High School. She was a very active member of the Aristocats Dance Team and Dungeoneers Theater Program during her high school years.
As a child, Maddie was diagnosed with a rare medical condition and felt called at an early age to become a nurse. Her interactions with the nurses who cared for her while she was a patient at Texas Children’s Hospital inspired her to want to become one herself someday. In January 2017 during her senior year of high school, Maddie lost her 21-year-old sister, Morghan, to an aneurysm. Morghan was in the process of obtaining her degree in nursing. Maddie hopes to honor her sister by dedicating her life to serving others through pursuing a career in healthcare.
Audry, who currently attends Dallas Baptist University, was ranked 8th out of 117 students in her graduating class at Palacios High School. She was a teacher-nominated member of the MRMC Student Governing Board during her senior year of high school. Along with a few of her friends, Audry took the initiative to host a Haunted Hotel fundraiser her senior year in October 2016 at the Luther Hotel in Palacios raising $630 from admission fees. In hopes of contributing these funds towards a worthy cause in their county, the students chose to make a donation to the MRMC Cardiopulmonary Department.
In June 2016, Audry first felt called to be a nurse when she served as a missionary in the Dominican Republic. During her mission trip, she worked as a nurse assistant helping underprivileged children and was moved to pursue a career in caring for others. Her desire to become a nurse was further nurtured as she was given the opportunity to shadow nurses in the Emergency Room at Palacios Medical Center.
This marks the third year that the MRMC Foundation has been able to award two $2,500 scholarships to students interested in pursuing a career in nursing. The MRMC Foundation Scholarship Selection Committee Members are very impressed by the applicants and recipients each year. With such strong desires to care for others due to their own personal experiences in life, Maddie and Audry are no exception as the Foundation expects great things from their future careers in healthcare.
The Johnson-Salazar Nursing Scholarship is named in honor of two dedicated registered nursing staff members that have a combined service of over 70 years with Matagorda County Hospital District – Jan Johnson, RN and Carolyn Salazar, RN. Jan retired as the Chief Nursing Officer of Matagorda General Hospital in 2002, and Carolyn retired as a Nurse Manager at Matagorda Regional Medical Center in 2014. Both ladies were key Board Members of the MRMC Foundation in the formative years, and the Foundation is grateful for their dedication and continued leadership.