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Ignite Davie helping student fulfill dream

By Jeanna Baxter White

Word Master Media Group

Logan Ballou-Tomel wants to be a surgical technologist.

He spent this summer studying and learning as much as possible about the procedures, tools, conduct, and other aspects of surgical technology before beginning the program at Davidson-Davie Community College this fall.

Thanks to Ignite Davie, the 2020 Davie High graduate was able to complete his general education classes and will complete the first four semesters of the five-semester certification program free of charge.

“When Sandra Porter and others from the college came to Davie and told us about the Ignite Davie program, I knew that it was a great opportunity and would help both me and my family financially.”

Ignite Davie is a college promise program that pays tuition and fees with a stipend for books for graduates to attend Davidson-Davie Community College full time in a certificate, diploma, or associate/transfer program at either campus. It is a place-based last-dollar scholarship which means students must live in and attend school in Davie County. The funds kick in after any other scholarships or federal student aid have been applied.

All eligible high school graduates, regardless of financial need or academic ability, can continue their education and training to open the door to better career opportunities and increased earning potential.

Surgical technologists, also called operating room technicians, assist with operations. They prepare operating rooms; arrange equipment; get patients ready for surgery by washing, shaving, and disinfecting incision sites; and help doctors during surgeries. During surgery, technologists pass instruments and other sterile supplies to surgeons and surgical assistants. They may hold retractors, cut sutures, and help count sponges, needles, supplies, and instruments.

Ballou-Tomel says he became interested in becoming a surgical technologist after his grandfather passed away from surgical complications. “I knew that I didn’t want any other family to feel the pain of losing someone and it made me want to help as many people as I possibly can.

“My career goal is to be a private surgical technician and travel across the state or country scrubbing in on big-time surgeries. But at the end of the day if that doesn’t happen, I will be just fine with working at one hospital and helping as many people as I can. That’s all I really want at the end of the day.”

“After I completed my Gen Eds and got accepted into the program I was so excited and prepared for the next steps in my college career. This year is going to be jam-packed with school, and work. I also work full-time at Lowe’s Home Improvement because I am saving up to move out on my own. It is going to be lots of hard work and little sleep but I was raised to work hard and be grateful for the opportunities that come your way.”

Ballou-Tomel would encourage all students to take advantage of the Ignite Davie program.

“If you are a Davie High student and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars but still want to get an amazing education then this program is for you. You can transfer to a four-year school after completing the first two years of the major of your choice for free.To me and many other students, it’s a no-brainer, who doesn’t like to save money and get an education at the same time?”

“Give the Ignite Davie program a chance, I am so glad I did. My life is changing for the better, and so can yours. You just have to work hard and dedicate yourself to learning and growing, and the faculty will make sure it happens. The teachers are great and really helped me when I was struggling or needed a hand.”

“Ignite Davie is an extraordinary promise and we invite you to join us,” said Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT and one of the driving forces behind Ignite Davie. “We have commitments for $2 million of the $3 million needed to endow the program for our students and our community, but we need your help to make the promise permanent. Together, we can create a bright and prosperous future for everyone.

“Please join us and others with a vision for a vibrant Davie County by making a gift that will truly spark our community.”

Visit IGNITEDAVIE.com to make a donation or to learn more. Direct questions to McManamy at cmcmanamy@daviecounty.com or (336) 753-6670.