OCPS's CTE Success Story

CTE Success Story

Living her dream: One alum’s dual-enrollment path to nursing
Living her dream: One alum’s dual-enrollment path to nursingMeagan Jones says she is living her dream as a labor, delivery and NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) nurse thanks to her mother, OCPS Career and Technical Education, and others.

The daughter of an OCPS employee, she watched her single mother strive for better and instill a strong will and desire for her and her siblings to never quit.

Jones attended Pinewood Elementary as a magnet student, completing her K-5 education as an honor student. At Lakeview Middle, her mother urged her and sisters to complete some of their high school courses (Spanish, Algebra I, etc.) online.

Photo: Meagan Jones“At the time, I thought my mother was just being mean, but little did I know she was setting us up for something bigger and better,” she said.

She wanted to attend West Orange High School and be with friends from middle school, but because her mother worked at Freedom High School, that is where she would attend high school.

“I was devastated. In hopes that my mom would move me to West Orange, I started to have repetitive, minor conduct and behavioral infractions. Little did I know, the transition to Freedom would be my ‘blessing in disguise’.”

At Freedom, Jones was exposed to various career paths and opportunities. Thinking that she wanted to be a teacher, as a sophomore, she began gaining certifications toward a DCF (Department of Children and Families) licensure through the early childhood education program offered at the school. She also began taking classes at Valencia College to complete some college credits.

After learning about the dual enrollment cosmetology program offered at the Orange Technical College – Westside Campus, in her junior year, Jones went to Westside in the morning, came back to Freedom for the early education class and then attended Valencia to complete core courses in the afternoon.

While in the cosmetology program, she learned of the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program offered at the Orange Technical College – Orlando Campus. She applied and was chosen. During her senior year in high school, she gained experience and worked with patients in different areas of nursing.

“Everything about this program just felt right. It sparked something in me that I didn’t even know was there,” she said. “I had finally found the job, the career, the purpose that felt right for me.”

After graduating from the nursing program with honors and high school in 2013, Jones worked as the Unit Secretary and Birth Assistant at an OB/Women’s Care Office in Orlando. Because she had already attained many of her undergraduate core credits while dual-enrolled in high school, she later attended the nursing program at Florida A&M University (FAMU). She graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing in December 2017.

Jones is currently back in school at FAMU, studying to obtain her Master of Science degree in nursing to become a nurse practitioner.

“Being 14, 15 or even 16 years old, I had no idea that this is where I would end up,” she said. “I had no idea that dual enrollment, career and technical education, or any of these programs would put me here.”
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