Nursing student works long, hard to make dream come true


    After graduating from Beaumont Central Medical Magnet High School, Ambrosia Madison earned an associate’s degree in academic studies from Lamar State College Port Arthur in 2014 and applied for the school’s nursing program.


    Then she tried, tried, tried -- and tried again -- for certification.

    On her fourth attempt, Madison completed all the requirements for her Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) certificate. She walked across the stage at LSCPA’s December 2017 commencement ceremony to many cheers and then shared many tears with instructors, classmates and family, including her mother, Elizabeth Madison.

    “I’ve wanted to be a nurse all my life,” Ambrosia said. “If it wasn’t for my family, God and this school, I don’t know where I’d be right now.”

    A day prior to the LSCPA commencement, tears rolled down Ambrosia’s cheeks as her mother applied her nurse’s pin at a special pinning ceremony.

    Those tears, she said, were for her father, Bobby Williams, who died in 2015.

    “My dad was an amazing man,” she said. “This is for him. I know he’ll be so proud of me.”
    The Allied Health Department faculty is proud of Ambrosia Madison.

    Shirley MacNeill, who chairs the department, and instructors Eursula Davis, Kathy Guidry, Debbie Lawson and Carolyn Brown are among those who guided Madison’s journey.

    “We’re just very proud of her,” Davis said. “She hit some bumps in the road and had a difficult time grasping some concepts, but she always had a positive attitude. She made some remarkable improvements.

    “She’s a real success story.”

    This success was hard-earned for Madison, a far cry from her younger days.

    “Coming out of high school, I never had to study,” she said. “Here, I actually had to learn how to study. It wasn’t easy. I had some setbacks, my dad passing, and my grades started to slip.

    “But Mrs. Davis and Mrs. MacNeill never gave up on me. I was given chance after chance after chance.”

    On Madison’s first try at the LVN program, “I did not pass anything,” she said.

    On her second try, “I passed everything in Level 1. Level 2 came and I did not pass again,” she said.

    On her third try, “I passed one class but couldn’t pass my math.”

    And then her spirit was really tested. She was advised to restart from scratch.

    “Mrs. Davis said, ‘Ambrosia, I think it would be beneficial for you to come back and start over in the program,’” Madison recalled.

    Madison left LSCPA for a semester.

    “She should have graduated in the summer of 2016,” Davis said. “Her options were to go to another school to seek out her degree or start at the beginning.

    “She came back in the spring of 2017 and had to start all over again as a Level 1 student. She did an awesome job this time.”

    Giving up was never an option, Ambrosia said.

    “I’m a true believer,” she said. “This is a calling, not a career for me. This is what I was born to do.”

    Madison said her father’s side of the family included many nurses. And she had a strong support system that included fiancĂ© Carey Webb, and 6-year-old niece Samayia Hobert as well as the LSCPA staff.

    “Mrs. Davis saw something in me,” Madison said. “Kathy Guidry said, ‘Ambrosia, I know what you have in you. It’s going to be exciting to see you become the nurse you can be.’

    “My momma pushed me, saying, ‘Don’t you give up.’ I had so many people encouraging me, I had to keep fighting.”

    And she overcame the challenges.

    “Mrs. Davis was proud,” Madison said. “She called me ‘My poster child.’”

    And another success story for Lamar State College Port Arthur.

    “Being a nurse is something I always wanted to be,” Ambrosia said. “And now I am one.

    “Sometimes starting over is what you need. I had to look at starting over not as the end of the world, but the starting of a better one.”