Family raising funds for memorial nursing scholarship

Scholarship honors the late Kellie DeBerardinis Caples

Kellie DeBerardinis Caples (WSCC)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Pam DeBerardinis, along with the rest of the family of the late Kellie DeBerardinis Caples, is working to raise funds for the Kellie DeBerardinis Caples Nursing Memorial Scholarship, created last year by Caples’ family with the help of the Wallace State Community College (WSCC) Future Foundation. 

Caples passed away in October 2018. The scholarship in her name was created with her love for nursing in mind. She attended Wallace State and then continued her education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She was a tech in the ER at Cullman Regional, where she worked for nine years, eventually becoming a charge nurse. She also worked at Children’s of Alabama, where she taught diabetic education to parents and children, before moving on to the Child Health Research Unit at UAB as a clinical research nurse. 

Caples’ mother, DeBerardinis, shared, “We believed this would be a great tribute to Kellie and allow others to follow their dream of becoming a nurse.” 

DeBerardinis said that last year, the family raised funds in various ways including accepting donations and hosting yard sales. Funds were also raised at the WSCC Future Foundation Student Investment Luncheon and Auction held earlier this month.  

This year the family is hosting a sale at the Kelley Community Center located at 1270 County Road 1435 in Vinemont Dec. 1-3 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Items for sale will include Christmas goods, glassware, vintage items, clothing, toys, etc. Many of the pieces were donated by community members. Any purchases will go toward the scholarship fund. 

In April, the WSCC Future Foundation awarded the Kellie DeBerardinis Caples Nursing Memorial Scholarship to nursing student Sydney Holder, who received $1,000 for the fall and $1,000 for the spring.  

“Kellie was raised to go after what you want, do your best and love what you do. That’s what we look for in a scholarship recipient. Sydney met all of these requirements. She attended nursing classes and worked and babysat and showed a strong desire to follow her dreams,” said DeBerardinis. “We are very excited for her and the path she has chosen. She was chosen out of several people that applied with four others, then we narrowed it down after all family members had a chance to look over her application. It was unanimous. We don’t want to limit anyone because of their grades; however, we do want to see a desire to be the best they can be as Kellie strived for in her grades and career.” 

The scholarship is awarded to third- or fourth-semester students who wish to pursue nursing education. Students must write a letter describing why they desire the scholarship and have a need for it. DeBerardinis said that the no. 1 requirement is a demonstrated dedication to their career choice.  

The family hopes to raise enough funds within five years so that the scholarship can be endowed. Endowed scholarships help students for several years. The WSCC Future Foundation invests a portion of donations so that investment returns fund the scholarship. Endowed scholarships are established with a minimum donation of $25,000 or a series of donations over a specified period of time. According to WSCC Vice President for Advancement and Innovation Suzanne Harbin, the U.S. Department of Education will provide a matching grant for half of the minimum endowment level required, so the family will only need to raise $12,500 over the next five years. 

Said DeBerardinis, “We would like this to become an endowed scholarship that will last forever in her name. Also, something that her son, Carter, can participate in after we are gone.” 

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