Student Success: Angela KnightJun 24, 2021
Angela Knight spent years working in the printing industry, for Veneer Graphics in Eden.
“But back around the time mills were closing, we closed too. At the time, I was a single mother and had to do something quick,” Knight said.
She landed in Nursing.
“It was serendipitous. Sometimes you think it’s the end of the world, and it’s really the beginning for something new. It was God. I fell into it by mistake, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said the Stokesdale resident, who has been an LPN for a quarter of a century.
“I have always worked in long-term care,” said Knight, who is in the area of Restorative Nursing Care at Jacob’s Creek Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Madison. In that role, she helps residents preserve and promote their optimum levels of functioning and independence.
“If I see someone losing weight or losing their ability to walk, I can put them into our program and get them back to where they can walk again. Medicare and Medicaid don’t pay for therapy but for so long,” Knight said. “But with me not being a Registered Nurse, I have to wait until an RN can come and access them and say it’s okay. By then, it’s too late to really help them.”
Knight return to school. She entered Rockingham Community College’s LPN to Associate Degree Nursing program in Wentworth, which she completed in May 2021, making her eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam to become an RN.
“I really wanted to go back to school for my family. And I had a lot going against me,” she said.
At 60, Knight is an older student. She is also legally deaf – which created a big problem when COVID-19 forced face masks over everyone’s mouths – and she was clueless about technology.
“When I first came back to school, I had to take English. I went in there with a pad and a pen, and (instructor) Dr. Alana Baker was talking about laptops. I went and got one and didn’t know how to turn it on,” Knight said. “Dr. Baker was so kind to me. She was so compassionate and brilliant.”
She said if it wasn’t for Dr. Baker, she probably would have quit. Instead, she aced the English class.
Staying in the program meant covering the expenses of being in school. It didn’t help that the rigorous class and clinic schedule meant Knight had to cut back on her hours at work… plus, she needed new hearing aids.
She turned to the RCC Foundation and applied for a scholarship.
“I was sitting in the audiologist’s office in Danville with my sister and the lady told me I had enough money for a down payment for my hearing aids, and what was left was $4,300,” Knight said. Her phone rang and it was her husband Jeff – who is retiring in August 2021 from his position as director of maintenance at RCC. “He called and said I won a scholarship. I asked how much, and he said $4,300. I told the doctor, ‘Let me tell you what God just did for me.’ He is so good to me! I don’t believe in coincidences.”
The Dawn Neal Mann Nursing General Scholarship
In March 2019, Dawn Neal Mann established a Nursing scholarship at RCC in memory of her late husband, Dr. Carroll Mann III, a neurosurgeon.
“I grew up in Rockingham County and when I graduated from Madison-Mayodan High School, I went to nursing school in Winston-Salem,” said Mann.
It was not easy. Her father was a game warden and her mother took care of the family and household.
“I am from a family of 11 children and it wasn’t really easy financially for me to go to school,” she recalled. Her cousin and his wife, Bill and Pat Vaughn assisted with Mann’s college education and helped her attain her Nursing degree.
She worked a couple of years and went back to school for her Nurse Anesthesiology degree.
Years later, she met her soul mate, Dr. Mann, who truly believed in helping all patients, including those with low socioeconomic financial means.
“He would allow his patients to pay him $5 per month. If the patients complied with this arrangement, he would send them a Christmas card cancelling their bill,” Mann said.
During their marriage, the Manns traveled the world seeking adventures and finding opportunities to help others. They even established a non-profit theatrical production company through which they co-produced, directed and acted at no charge to the community.
Mann’s husband also wanted to start endowments at NC State and Carolina, and she agreed.
“I didn’t think of RCC until after he was gone. I want to make sure some else who went through what I went through did not have as hard of a time as I did,” she said. “Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Aren’t we supposed to help someone who is having a hard time?”
A Thankful Student
Angela Knight is now finished with her program at RCC, and is back to work at Jacob’s Creek.
“I know I can’t hear, but I feel like I am still a good nurse. And I can see a blood pressure on the manual cuff better than most people can hear it. And if I need to hear some breath sounds, I have a stethoscope for the hearing impaired. But what I do doesn’t really require me to listen to breath sounds and lung sounds,” she said. “Even if people have handicaps, there is always a place in nursing.”
And she is so thankful to Dawn Neal Mann for helping her achieve her goal.
“I will never forget that scholarship. I know my husband and I have good jobs, but it put us in a financial bind for me to lose all my hours at work,” Knight said. “I’m grateful to people like Mrs. Mann who do something like that for other people.”
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