FULFILLING DREAMS THROUGH EDUCATION: Wendy Sheppard, an EMT from Plymouth, was in an unhealthy marriage, she said, but got out and is now pursuing her dream of becoming a registered nurse by attending Quincy College.
Liisa Budge Johnson of Hanson, outreach coordinator for the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department, found she was comfortable talking to groups and is now working toward a degree in communications and public speaking at Curry College.
Both were helped by $1,000 scholarships recently given to them by the Norwell-based Massachusetts Educational Foundation, a nonprofit created to help women over 35 enhance their lives through education.
“Becoming a nurse has always been a latent dream of mine that went unfilled due to my decision to put motherhood and family first,” said Sheppard, 38, mother of three young boys who also teaches catechism at St. Mary’s Church in Plymouth, is a member of her children’s school council, and coaches a boys’ basketball team in Plymouth.
“After my divorce, I needed to do whatever it took to finish my schooling so I can provide for my sons,” she said.
The 49-year-old Johnson has worked for the sheriff’s department for six years and as part of her work, talks to groups of people about safety issues, such as identity theft and fraud in charities.
“I guess I found a talent for it and said this is the path I want to follow,” said Johnson, mother of three, the youngest now 21. “Long ago, I’d gotten my associate’s degree at Massasoit Community College. This is my second stab at college.”
She attends Curry’s Plymouth campus, and “am still struggling with payments, so this award means so very much to me,” she said.
Johnson is also a cofounder of “Score for a Cure,” a charitable soccer tournament created by four friends who had breast cancer and are now cancer-free.
“We wanted to do something to raise a little money four years ago, and now it’s bigger than we imagined,” Johnson said. “This year, we had 41 teams from six states, and raised $29,000.”
“My main priority is my children,” Sheppard said. “So receiving this scholarship not only helps finance my remaining education, but also puts me that one step closer to attaining my ultimate goal: showing my three sons how much can be accomplished through hard work, dedication, and determination.”
For more information on the Massachusetts Educational Foundation, visit www.massedfund.org.
LAKEVILLE WOMAN WINS MISS MASSACHUSETTS: Taylor Kinzler of Lakeville was selected as Miss Massachusetts 2012 at the 73d annual Miss Massachusetts Scholarship Pageant, earning more than $8,500 in scholarships and the right to compete at the Miss America Pageant next January in Las Vegas. The 20-year-old Kinzler is a junior at the University of Rhode Island, majoring in journalism, and also was Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teen 2008.
BUSINESS BRIEFS: Roy Walker of Brockton was named sales manager of the Haverhill office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. He is responsible for daily sales and operations of 35 associates serving Haverhill and surrounding communities in the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire. Walker was previously a sales associate in the Coldwell Banker Easton office for nine years.
The former Neponset Valley Philharmonic Orchestra has a new name: Symphony Nova, which will provide advanced professional training for post-collegiate professional musicians ages 21 to 35, said Lawrence Isaacson, the maestro leading the orchestra. He launched the Neponset Valley Philharmonic in 2007. Symphony Nova will consist of a fully paid orchestra of 65, which will typically do eight concerts a year at the Old South Church in Boston and in the Neponset Valley. It will continue to provide chamber concerts in primary and secondary schools.
Terri Martini of Scituate was installed as president of the board of directors at the South Shore Women’s Business Network at the group’s annual dinner, held at the Cohasset Harbor Inn. She is owner of Scituate’s Front Street Gourmet, and succeeds Janet LaBerge, owner of Pembroke-based Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. Other board members installed were Paula Lind of Scituate; Kristen Ford Hernandez of Braintree; Judy Walsh Rodriguez of Weymouth; Lori Cook and Kathleen Keegan, both of Pembroke; and Becky Coletta of Hanover.
Cindy Rice, president of Eastern Food Safety in Braintree, which teaches food safety education, recently spoke at the Nevada Food Safety Task Force’s annual conference in Las Vegas, where she talked about issues facing health regulators and industry professionals. She presented “Glimpses of the Other Side,” which she said was designed to open up lines of communication between health inspectors and managers in the food industry.
Duxbury-based VERC Enterprises, a convenience store and Mobil/Gulf gasoline operator, won the Best of Plymouth Award in the convenience store category by the US Commerce Association for the fifth consecutive year. The award recognizes outstanding local businesses nationwide, and VERC officials said VERC was the first five-time winner. The company has two locations in Plymouth, on Commerce Way and Court Street.