Nothing prepared Christi Denney for the loss of her beloved sister, Nita DeWoody, in October 2016. However, In the midst of her grief, Denney became determined to do something good to carry on her sister’s memory. With that goal in mind, she organized a charity 5K race, Jingle Bell Jog, that was first held in October 2017 in Pittsburg. The proceeds went to support three of DeWoody’s favorite causes, one of which was funding a scholarship at Northeast Texas Community College.
Earlier this spring, Denney presented a check for $1,000 to the NTCC Foundation to provide a scholarship to a non-traditional student pursuing a degree in a health sciences field. Denney recently presented the Northeast Texas Community College Foundation with an additional $1,500 to support the Nita DeWoody Memorial Scholarship Fund. The funds will provide two scholarships to NTCC students. One is for $1,000 and is designated to a non-traditional student already enrolled in the NTCC Associate Degree Nursing (ADN), Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) or Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program. The second scholarship for $500 will benefit a non-traditional student who plans to enroll in one of those programs.
“Education was very important to Nita,” Denney explained. “She began her career as a public-school teacher. After her children were born, she returned to the classroom for a short while, but decided that her goals had shifted and she wanted to change careers. While preparing to enter the Physician Assistant program at UT-Southwestern in Irving, she attended NTCC to take all the pre-requisite math and science classes that she needed.”.
Denney said DeWoody, a Pittsburg native, was the first person in their family to ever attend college, and she had to beg her parents to allow her to attend after high school.
“She paved the way,” she said. “When my middle sister graduated, it was less of a struggle, and by the time I came along, it was EXPECTED that I would go to college. My sister Nita made that possible.”
Attending NTCC has become somewhat of a tradition in Denney’s family. Her middle sister, Wendy, also attended NTCC to take pre-requisite classes for nursing school as an adult, Denney took dual credit classes through NTCC during high school and her nephew attended NTCC before transferring to UT-Tyler, where he earned Bachelor and Masters degrees.
“Because of the positive impact NTCC has had on our family, I wanted to create this scholarship to help a non-traditional student (like my sisters were) also fulfill their goal of entering the medical profession here in East Texas (another thing Nita was passionate about). I can’t wait to see who is awarded this scholarship and what they go on to accomplish,” Denney said.
For more information about how to support students at NTCC through scholarships, contact Dr. Jonathan McCullough, NTCC Executive Vice President for Advancement, or give online at www.ntcc.edu/give.
Denney is pictured (left) presenting the gift to Nita May, NTCC Director of Development. Also pictured are Adelyn Denney (held) and Clara Denney.