Heritage High and Rockdale Career Academy senior Katey Jones was named Rockdale County Public School's Apprentice of the Year in a surprise visit Tuesday at Rockdale Medical Center's The Birth Place.
Jones, who is apprenticing at RMC's Labor and Delivery department, is working toward her goal of becoming a nurse midwife - a decision that was made partly with her experience in the Work Based Learning program at RCA.
"It's always been my passion to help people," said Jones. As a little girl she wanted to be a doctor or veterinarian. But it was her internship last year at Conyers Pediatrics, where she now works part time in addition to her apprenticeship at RMC, and the guidance of her supervisors there that set her course towards a masters' in nursing midwifery.
Conyers Pediatrics Practice Administrator Alicia Senn and Front Office Coordinator Belinda Bohannon sang Jones' praises. "I've never see anyone as driven," said Senn. "I can't say enough good things about her."
Cammie Hall, manager of Labor and Delivery at RMC, said the department has had apprentices before, but "Katey has been particularly remarkable." Jones went above and beyond with projects on her own, said Hall, such as making sure the department's stock of supplies was up-to-date in preparation for the Joint Commission visit.
Jones' parents, Rhonda and Bradley Jones, said their daughter had prayed long and hard about this path. They came for the surprise announcement bearing balloons and flowers and said they were very proud. Her grandmothers Linda Jones and Kay Fowler were also in attendance.
Work Based Learning Coordinator Caroline Ingle St. John said it was a tough decision among this year's pool of approximately 30 paid apprentices from Rockdale County Public Schools. "Her peers are such an elite group," St. John said. There are seven apprentices in Rockdale Medical Center alone and St. John praised the hospital's partnership with the school system. "I think it is one of the premier partnerships in the state," said St. John.
Jones will go on to compete for the state WBL apprenticeship of the year, which will be announced in July.
Tuesday evening, Jones was also awarded an inaugural $500 scholarship from the WBL program.
Jones plans on getting her associate's degree in Nursing from GPC, transferring to Georgia College and State University to finish her bachelor's, and going on to get her master's degree in nursing specializing in midwifery from Frontier University in Kentucky - all within five years. She is a dual enrollment student with Georgia Perimeter College, taking three classes as well as AP classes this year. By the time she graduates high school, she will have accumulated 24 college credits.
In addition to her apprenticeship at RMC, part time job at Conyers Pediatrics, Dual Enrollment classes at GPC, AP classes, Jones also serves in the nursery and as a student leader at her church Believer's Fellowship in Conyers.