An initiative of Meridian CUSD 101
There’s a multi-generational nursing legacy happening in Fayth Lefler's family. “My mom’s a CNA and my sister’s a CNA,” she says, running down the list in her head. “My other sister’s getting into CNA, as well as my younger sister.” Needless to say, it’s no surprise that Fayth has joined the pursuit of the familial occupation of choice. “I’ve always been interested in it and I seem to be really good at it,” she says, not shy to amplify about herself when it matters.
The teachers are really there for you when you need it.
Fayth is in her second year of the Shawnee Community College-partnered Fast Start program, where students can take classes for college credit. She’s working on her CNA certification through the college but says she’ll by no means be finished when she achieves her CNA. “I want to become a CNA and work as a CNA,” she prefaces, then adds, “and go for my veterinarian degree because that's also what I want to do.” After the degree in veterinary medicine, she says she’d like to return to school to obtain higher nursing degrees.
Why the two specializations? For Fayth, it comes down to doing what you want only when you want to. “I want to become a nurse, but when I don’t want to do nursing, I can be a veterinarian,” she reasons. “I’ll have both degrees because I like to do both things.” As someone enrolled in seven classes last semester, her work ethic suggests that holding multiple degrees would support her lifestyle better. Why do one thing when you're able to do several?
In the meantime, there are wedding bells on the horizon. She’s marrying her sweetheart in September, and they plan to move to Dongola and plan out their next move as a young couple. “I plan on working somewhere in Illinois as a CNA,” she says, “then take a break, go to Shawnee for my associate’s degree, and then I’ll go for my veterinarian’s degree.” She’s dedicated to a vision and is motivated to muscle through and stick the landing.
Meridian’s influence on Fayth’s articulate planning and intense focus is not lost on her. When we ask her about the strengths of her school, she doesn’t have to think it over for long. “The teachers are really there for you when you need it,” she says. In addition to helping with academic tasks, she’s learned practical skills like cooking from teachers eager to find any and all learning opportunities for their students. She’s learned that it’s important to pay attention and keep on the lookout for these moments. If she could advise her younger self, she would instruct younger Fayth to “actually pay attention in school.” “7th grade wasn’t the greatest year for me,” she explains. “I didn’t pay attention.” Something’s changed since that time, and while we refuse to take credit away from Fayth for her own get-up and go, it’s important to appreciate that our school is supporting ambitious, hardworking, and determined students who will impact our community going forward in ways we can’t yet imagine but should take the time to appreciate. Let’s hear it for Fayth.