New Hope-Solebury School District parents, Judeth and James Finn, have established the Charles W. McHenry Memorial Scholarship, a $20,000 award for a graduating senior aspiring to pursue a career in nursing. Mrs. Finn is a former nurse and currently serves as the president of the New Hope-Solebury School District Board of School Directors. The Charles W. McHenry Scholarship will be granted every four years to a qualified student and is named in memory of Mrs. Finn’s late father, who passed from diabetes at the age of 56. It was the exceptional care her father received that inspired Mrs. Finn to become a nurse.
Mr. Finn, who first conceived of the scholarship, explained, “We formed this scholarship to help meet a pressing need for nurses evidenced by the pandemic and to honor and contribute to the philanthropic spirit of our community. We also want to set an example for our children, so that if they are ever positioned to do something similar, they will know they can have a meaningful impact on the world and appreciate the joys of helping others.”
The Finns selected two students to receive the scholarship this year, seniors Kayci Lane and Ciara Maguire, due to the strength of their applications. “We read their essays, we looked at their backgrounds, and they were both more than deserving of the scholarship. Their desire to become nurses was palpable,” shared Mrs. Finn.
Kayci credits the compassionate care she received from an emergency room nurse at the age of 11 with inspiring her career pursuits. She is already a nationally-certified emergency medical technician (EMT) and has served on the Lambertville New Hope Ambulance and Rescue Squad for several years. To earn her certification, Kayci completed clinical hours at Hunterdon Medical Center, and it was there she experienced her first-ever save. She performed chest compressions on a patient who had flatlined, and when the patient’s heartbeat returned, Kayci explained that she was “honored to touch a life so closely and inspired to continue her journey in healthcare.”
Ciara was called to nursing after a family tragedy. Her uncle experienced sudden cardiac arrest at the age of 51 and slipped into a life-ending coma. It was the compassionate nurses who supported her family during his final days that inspired Ciara to follow in their footsteps. Ciara plans to pursue a nursing career providing care for children with special needs or developmental disabilities. She explained, “As a nurse, I will strive to make families feel comfortable and treat everyone as if they were my Uncle Ron that day. I will make my Uncle, and all others I have lost, proud. I will help families like mine and do everything possible to sustain life.”
Mrs. Finn shared that they hope the Charles W. McHenry Scholarship will launch caring and motivated nurses into the field and ease financial burdens for young people who want to pursue this challenging, yet deeply meaningful calling. To the students they have selected, Kayci and Ciara, she imparts this advice, “Be confident in yourself. Find a mentor nurse to guide you. And always think about and care for your patient as a whole.”
PHOTO CAP: From left, Judeth Finn, Ciara Maguire, Kayci Lane, and James Finn.