2016 SHS Foundation Scholarship Recipient Alyssa Figueiredo Sets Her Sights on Nursing

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

By Peter Force*

Alyssa Figueiredo

Alyssa Figueirdo

Alyssa Figueirdo was awarded the Springfield High School (Casey’s alma mater)  Casey Feldman Memorial Scholarship this year not only for her academic prowess–she managed to take on the extra coursework of AP and honors classes while still remaining at the top of her class–but for her continued devotion to volunteer work and humanitarian extracurricular activities. After learning of all the many ways Alyssa has challenged herself to help others through high school, we’re not surprised at all to hear that, after a semester of finding her footing at The University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, she has decided to pursue a career in nursing.

Here’s just a partial rundown of Alyssa’s achievements in high school that got her the nomination, and the scholarship: She is part of the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) Leadership Team, where she helped to organize participation in the annual Philly Aids Walk and raised funds for Valley Youth House (a safe house for homeless LGBQT youth). In her senior year she attended West Chester University’s GSA Leadership Conference where she co-led a workshop on how to run a GSA with a focus on social activism. She was also a member of the Community Service Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and part of SHS’s annual Dance Marathon, which raises funds for the fight against pediatric cancer.

That’s in addition to her being part of the school’s Med-Tech team: a small group of students who arrive at school early (6:30 am, to be precise) and travel to local hospitals where they experience first-hand what it takes to be in the medical profession on a daily basis.

And those are just her school extracurriculars. She also volunteered at at St. Christopher’s Hospital in the Child Life Department and shadowed doctors in the Neurology Department. At The University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Alyssa has joined the Alliance (a club similar to the GSA she led at SHS), and is a member of Kickstart Kid’s Hearts, a club that raises money for the PA Chapter of the Children’s Heart Foundation.

After taking a course on medical careers through the Delaware County Technical School, Alyssa decided that through nursing she “can make more of an impact on my patients’ lives since nurses are the ones who see them the majority of the time. With nursing I will get more clinical experience, which would help me to be a better doctor, should I choose to attend medical school.”  After graduating from high school, Alyssa volunteered in the Sleep Lab at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children this past summer before she headed off to college.

Alyssa wears her pink Casey Feldman bracelet every day and welcomes the “opportunity to spread awareness every time I get asked about it.”

We salute you, Alyssa, not only for spreading awareness of the potentially tragic consequences of distracted driving, but for truly embodying the spirit and generosity of Casey in all of your endeavors.

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Pete Force*Peter Force is a writer and artist from Springfield, PA, knew Casey and has been a lifelong friend of Casey’s brother, Brett. He studied Art History at Bloomsburg University for two years before graduating from Temple University in 2014 with a B.A. in English Literature. He is currently the manager of Cathy’s Half Price Books, an independent used bookstore located in Havertown, PA. in addition to writing freelance articles for a variety of sources. A portfolio of his work can be found on his website at www.petermforce.com

Bridget Clawson, 2012 SHS Foundation Scholarship Recipient Pursues Her Dreams

Monday, December 12th, 2016

By Peter Force*

Bridget Clawson 2016

Bridget with her friend’s new baby in Nov. “I take care of babies all night at work but still nothing beats this.”

What has Bridget Clawson been up to? Since receiving the Springfield High School (SHS) Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation Scholarship in 2012 to attend Temple University for nursing… the answer is, well, a lot! After graduating from Temple with her B.S. in nursing and passing her NCLEX exams in May, she told us that as “the year 2016 has been my busiest year-to-date for sure!” We all know how much time and energy nurses put into caring for their patients and Bridget is no exception. But she’s been keeping herself busy in a variety of different ways, too, in addition to her day (and sometimes night) job.

Working in the healthcare field has always been a passion of Bridget’s – she’s wanted to be a nurse since she was in 5th grade, specifically in the maternity and pediatric fields. “All of this happening now is just the culmination of a dream I’ve had forever” she said. She officially began working at the Lankenau Medical Center this July after putting in time as an extern for over a year. But it’s not only the babies she’s passionate about – she also said that helping the mothers “during probably the newest, most exciting part of their journeys gives me so much joy.”

As demanding as being a maternity nurse can be, Bridget has far greater ambitions. Her passions for yoga and meditation go back to her time in high school, but have especially helped to center herself during the stressful transition from college to the professional working world. She hopes in the future to continue working with children and parents alike by sharing what she has learned during her yoga training. “I firmly believe that bringing mindfulness to the community is so important. It makes us better people,” she told us. Bridget will finish her 200-hour Svadhyaya Yoga Teacher Training course at Priya Hot Yoga in January 2017 which culminates when she teaches her first community class.

Bridget in a yoga pose. All proceeds benefit New Hope Ministries and the India/Nepal One Red Bead Initiative

Bridget in a yoga pose. All proceeds from the 1st community yoga class that Bridget will teach in Jan. will benefit New Hope Ministries and the India/Nepal One Red Bead Initiative

In the near future, Bridget has a trip to Iceland planned and hopes to continue traveling abroad at least once a year for as long as she can, whether it be for service or just the thrill of experiencing new cultures. She recently completed a course in photography that will help her document her travels and her yoga practices. She also loves to write and plans on starting up a blog to document her experiences.

As for the not-so-near future? “Going to school for an advanced nursing degree is always in the back of my mind,” she told us, in addition to continuing her yoga training in meditation, reiki, and other holistic health practices. Most importantly, “having Casey in the back of my mind to this day still drives me to make a difference in the world.”

We’re so proud of you Bridget, for your hard-earned successes and your desire to continue striving for the betterment of yourself and your community!

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Pete Force*Peter Force is a writer and artist from Springfield, PA, knew Casey and has been a lifelong friend of Casey’s brother, Brett. He studied Art History at Bloomsburg University for two years before graduating from Temple University in 2014 with a B.A. in English Literature. He is currently the manager of Cathy’s Half Price Books, an independent used bookstore located in Havertown, PA. in addition to writing freelance articles for a variety of sources. A portfolio of his work can be found on his website at www.petermforce.com