Before she moved into her dormitory this week for her freshman year at Missouri Western State University, William Chrisman High School graduate Ciera Perez had a chance to meet last week with Cheri Hunt, the senior vice president for patient care services and the chief nursing officer for Children's Mercy Hospital.

Hunt had noticed an Examiner academic all-stars feature in which Perez expressed a future hope of being nurse at Children's Mercy. Hunt offered to be a mentor through Perez's college years, perhaps arranging for a part-time job at the hospital if Perez can attain the necessary certification. Perez said she plans to major in nursing at Missouri Western.

“I was really flattered; I never imagined anybody would read it,” she said of the newspaper clip and unexpected meeting. “She wanted to know what my passions were in nursing and how she could help get me ready to work at a place like Children's Mercy.

“It makes me feel like I've set up a future for myself, if I can keep my grades up. I can have this door opened for me.”

– Photo courtesy of Children's Mercy