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St. Luke's donates $75,000 for nursing program

Two Cy-Fair College students who felt called to the nursing profession are the first scholarship recipients of a $75,000 donation from St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in partnership with Land Tejas Companies.

An Oct. 18 donor reception at Cy-Fair College not only showed appreciation for the generosity of St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in establishing a scholarship program for associate degree nursing candidates at Cy-Fair College, but also recognized Tonya Covello and Lanouaga Compaore, the inaugural scholarship recipients.

The $75,000 St. Luke’s has designated for this scholarship program is part of a $1 million gift donated to the hospital by Land Tejas Companies, a Houston-based real estate management and investment company that specializes in community development. The gift was made to help strengthen a critical healthcare resource – nursing. Just last year, Land Tejas Companies donated $352,000 to Cy-Fair College's Associate Degree Nursing Program that allowed the program to add nursing faculty and more than triple student admission.

As Karen Myers, Chief Nursing Officer at St. Luke’s points out, “Through this unique collaboration between St. Luke’s, Cy-Fair College and Land Tejas, we will help ensure opportunities in nursing for the next generation. We believe that this collaborative model will serve as an example to other community institutions and that this initial investment will multiply in success for years to come.” 

Over the next five years, three students will each receive a $2,500 annual St. Luke’s scholarship and are eligible for a second annual St. Luke’s scholarship of $2,500.

Covello, who will graduate this May, said she has always wanted to work in health care and found out during clinical rotations that she loves patient interaction.

“I always thought I wanted to be a surgical nurse, but I did my surgical rotation and I found out it wasn’t what I wanted to do which is the great thing about the program,” she said. “I had also thought of being a doctor but they focus on a specific part of the body. I want to be a nurse because they are more holistic focusing on every part of a person from spirituality to nutrition.”

After putting her engineer husband through school, it’s Covello’s turn. However, with a son at Cy-Fair College and a 14-year-old in high school, she said it’s tight financially living on one income. Everyone is making sacrifices, such as selling her couches to help come up with the $1,000 needed for tuition and books the first year in the nursing program. But she and her husband, both the first in their family to go to college, are setting the expectation of going to college as a “when not if” in their children.

Now a surprised and humbled St. Luke’s scholarship recipient, Covello said “There’s a huge burden off my shoulders. Having that scholarship is such a blessing and makes a huge difference. I hope and pray when I get out of school that I can provide a scholarship. That’s my goal.”
Compaore’s goal was originally to become an engineer but now it’s to become an RN and bring his family, who he hasn’t seen in three years, to the United States.

“I believe God is calling me to care for those in need, who are suffering, sick and need healing,” said Compaore, 

While his wife and three children remain in Africa, Compaore is working toward a new life in the health profession. He has taken classes throughout the Lone Star College System, beginning with ESOL classes.

“The Cy-Fair College nursing program is challenging, the standard is high and I need to study more,” he said.

Compaore said it’s also always a struggle to pay tuition, but he’s been praying for help with his financial situation. Last year his church assisted and now receiving the St. Luke’s scholarship is just amazing, he said.

For information on Cy-Fair College's nursing program or available scholarships, go to cyfair.lonestar.edu.