Yadkin nursing scholarships remember Bonnie M. Chappell

Cecil and Bonnie Chappell

Behind every scholarship is an inspiring life story as is the case of the new Bonnie M. Chappell Memorial Scholarships. Bonnie M. Chappell passed away at 93, having lived a full life that didn’t start out on the most uplifting note. Born in Wilkes County, she was the last of five births. Her mother was struck by lightning when Bonnie was less than a week old and her mother died within the year. Her grandmother, who was of limited means, agreed to take her in and raise her.

Bonnie would tell the story of the banana she gave her grandmother as a gift for Christmas, because her grandmother loved bananas. While appreciative, her grandmother was saddened to tell her that she was unable to give her a gift in return. When her grandmother died, Bonnie moved in with one of her sisters. Despite a childhood of loss and several moves, Bonnie was faithful in attending school and graduated from West Yadkin School, which then had all grades. After graduation, she learned that Hanes Hosiery was offering housing with employment. Wanting to spare the burden on her sister, she accepted a job and moved to Winston-Salem, working there until nearly 40 years old. During that time, she met the love of her life, Cecil Chappell. After several years of saving their dollars, they bought a 100-acre farm in Hamptonville. Cecil worked the farm and Bonnie continued with Hanes Hosiery, helping Cecil on the farm after work and on weekends. They were an inseparable couple and always seen together. They were faithful members of Swaim’s Baptist Church for 50+ years. After turning 40, Bonnie decided she wanted to go back to school to earn better pay, choosing to become a nurse to take care of people. She returned to school, earning her LPN degree at Wilkes Community College. She worked in nursing until she retired. She was always concerned for others and wanting to help those less fortunate. After 61 years of marriage, Cecil passed away in 2011. Bonnie’s story is a story of overcoming early-life hardship, hard work, perseverance in never giving up on a dream, and an unwavering faith and spirit that spilled over into helping others. The annual two-year scholarships she now leaves behind are focused on high school seniors and adults with her same characteristics and who want to pursue a career in nursing.

The application for the Bonnie M. Chappell Memorial Scholarship for Yadkin County high school seniors is open now at https://www.shallowfordfoundation.org/chappell with a deadline of March 31. Students may be enrolled in a nursing program full- or part-time and with a community college or 4-year school. Students enrolled in 4-year schools may be awarded $5,000 ($2,500 a year for each of two years, contingent on maintaining passing grades). Award recipients will be paired with a mentor from the Compassion Care Center.

The application for the adult scholarship will be available this fall.

For more information about the scholarships, contact Greg Keener, Program Officer, Shallow Ford Foundation at greg@shallowfordfoundation.org or call 336-403-0433.