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18-year-old high school senior sets sights on becoming a nurse

Talena Herrera set her sights on becoming a nurse after being a caretaker for her grandmother Sharon following her grandmother's recent cancer diagnosis.

RAMSEUR, N.C. — An 18-year-old high school senior from Eastern Randolph High School has dreams of becoming a nurse after being a caretaker for her grandmother.

Talena Herrera decided to pursue nursing following her grandmother Sharon’s recent cancer diagnosis.

“She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and then a week after, we found out she’s at stage 4,” Herrera said.

She describes her grandmother as someone who’s had a profound impact on her life.

“She is the sweetest woman, and I think I get that from her. I pick up a lot of traits that she has,” Herrera said about her grandmother Sharon. “She teaches me to be as nice as you can to everyone. She loves putting other people before herself. So, she loves taking care of others just as much as I do.”

When she’s not dreaming of becoming a nurse or taking care of her grandmother, Herrera serves in JROTC as Cadet Colonel of Eastern Randolph High School’s Wildcat Battalion.

“She is very self-aware, but she’s also very good at reading people, anticipating their needs, facilitating others to help meet those needs, if she can do it herself, she’ll jump in and do it,” Dr. Susan Chappell, principal at Eastern Randolph High School said when explaining Herrera.

Chappell said Herrera is very compassionate, caring, and always puts other people before herself.

“She has really seen the impact that effective nursing care can do, she really wants to be able to embody that and I think she will,” Chappell said.

Herrera said her drive to serve, help others, and go into the nursing field is one that comes straight from the heart – and from the love of her grandmother.

“Knowing that people are going to feel loved, taken care of, and knowing that the passion of the work is way more than pay,” she said. “Just overall…saying ‘oh I’m a nurse.’ No, I want to be a nurse for the right reasons. Anything to venture off into it, I’m open, and I’m open to the new venture.”

Herrera plans to attend Randolph Community College in the fall and later transfer to a four-year university to pursue a degree in nursing.

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