Scholarship paves the way for single mom Stephanie Livingston

Mar. 06, 2014 @ 10:56 AM

Stephanie Livingston was a single mother, and her life was about her kids.

Livingston spent her life working in furniture — 20 years, 15 of them as an administrative assistant. She’d always dreamed of working in the medical field, but her focus was on raising Kourtney and Christian.

But then Kourtney and Christian grew up — Kourtney now is 22, and Christian’s 21 — and the furniture industry in North Carolina started to creak a little slower. Livingston watched as other employees were laid off and her own hours were cut.

And that’s when she knew: It was time to follow her dream. She enrolled at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, first to complete pre-requisite courses and then to enroll in the cardiovascular sonography program. On Wednesday, Livingston spoke at the CCC&TI Foundation’s Annual Fund kick-off.

“This has been something I’ve always wanted to do,” Livingston said in an interview earlier that day. “It was just, being a single mother for 20 years, my focus was working, paying the bills — just raising them. That was my entire focus. But after they got older — I’m amazed by anything in the medical field, but the cardiovascular, the heart, it just amazes me. I just think it’s something that’s so fascinating.”  

Last summer, Livingston had completed her pre-requisites and received her acceptance letter from the cardiovascular sonography program.

Then Kourtney got sick. Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, she was hospitalized two times that summer. It is virtually impossible to be enrolled in some health-sciences programs and maintain a full-time job. There are classes two days a week and on-site training the other three. The weekends are for studying. But the hospital bills were piling up.

With four years of effort invested, Livingston was close to giving up. Then she got a call from the CCC&TI Foundation, saying she’d been awarded the V.D. Guire Scholarship. Without the scholarship, there would have been no way to continue, Livingston said.

“That’s how I’m actually surviving to continue this program, which is just beyond a blessing — beyond,” she said.

Now Livingston is nearing the finish line — she’ll graduate in May 2015. She’s as passionate about the medical field as she’s ever been, and grateful for the support that allowed her to continue her journey.

“People that have the money to be able to donate to help other people — I know they do it for a reason,” Livingston said. “But I just hope they know how much it helps.”