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Summit Receives Grant from Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation to Fund School Nurse

by Melissa Hudson

CASHIERS, NC – November 21, 2019 – Summit Charter School, a tuition-free K-10 public charter school in the Cashiers-Highlands plateau, today announces it has received a grant from the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation to fund a full-time school nurse for one year. Zandra Wingfield has fulfilled the full-time position and started on October 16. This is the first time the school has had the funding capacity to hire a nursing position. Summit strives to graduate students who are academically prepared, engaged in the community, healthy, and strong in character. “We are extremely grateful for the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation’s generous support of our whole-child focus at Summit.,” says Kurt Pusch, head of school. “For the first time in our school’s history, Summit is able to staff a full-time school nurse to directly serve student and staff wellness on our campus. We believe that as a community school, being able to provide this level of care on campus is an important service to our families, students, and staff, resulting in long-term benefits to our students' growth and development. This would not be possible without the generous support of the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation.” Zandra Wingfield graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is a Registered Nurse. During her time at the University of Florida, she received the UF College of Nursing Alumni Council Book Award, the UF College of Nursing MSC Patriot Award, and the LT Fouke UF Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Leadership Award. Her previous work experience includes roles at the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at UF Health, Bayada Home Health, Lifepoints Corp, and Highlands Family Medicine. She is married to Eric Wingfield and has a three-year-old son named Samuel who attends Cashiers Valley Preschool. "I feel tremendously honored and grateful to be joining the Summit Family! In the four years that my family and I have lived in the area, we have grown to love the unique bond that our small community shares and cannot imagine living anywhere else,” explains Zandra Wingfield, Summit’s new school nurse. “It is a huge blessing to work with an incredible team of people who truly love and care for these students, all while getting to continue pursuing my passion for pediatric nursing in this beautiful town we call home. I have been welcomed with open arms, had some laughs and sweet moments with students so far, and love hearing and watching the vision of Summit's leadership and staff come to life on a daily basis. I'm very excited to grow in my role as Summit's school nurse, and to play a small part in tending to and watching these future leaders grow up to bring change to our world!" According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a school nurse has a crucial role in the seamless provision of comprehensive health services to children and youth. Not only do school nurses have the expertise to provide proper care, they help keep children in class and allow faculty to focus on their core missions. A 2014 Kaiser Health study determined that without a school nurse on campus, teachers spend 26 minutes a day each on health-related matters. With a school nurse around, that number drops to six minutes a day. “A child’s health is an invariably important factor in their learning,” continues Pusch. “Providing a school nurse for our Summit students will improve student access to health professionals, student attendance, and the overall well-being of our student body.”  Robin Tindall, executive director and CEO of the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation, says, “Our Foundation is pleased to support Summit Charter School’s commitment to nurturing the health of its student body. This initiative directly aligns with our focus areas of improving access to healthcare and support for education. We wholeheartedly congratulate them on putting our grant funds to use in fulfilling this important need.” About Summit Charter School Summit Charter School is a tuition-free K-10 public charter school in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina that engages students in learning experiences that stimulate discovery, inspire excellence, and nurture a positive influence in an ever-changing world. A picturesque mountain campus and state-of-the-art facilities in the Cashiers-Highlands plateau provide an ideal setting for students and teachers to embrace high expectations, build meaningful relationships, and practice the seven virtues of the school’s daily Summit Pledge: “Each day in my words and my deeds, I will do my best to live these seven virtues: Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Self-Discipline, Perseverance, and Giving.” Learn more about Summit’s transformative place-based education and whole-child approach to learning at summitschool.org. About The Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation The Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation was established on February 1, 2019 as a 501 (c) 3 public charity with a purpose to improve the health and wellbeing of Highlands, Cashiers, and surrounding communities. As the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital conversion foundation we are committed to continuing a several-decade legacy of generosity and vision to ensure vibrant and healthy living for our year-round, seasonal and visiting families and individuals. Through partnerships with organizations, key stakeholders and caring donors, The Foundation aims to make positive and lasting change through investing in projects and programs that advance innovative solutions and improvements in peoples’ health and wellbeing. The Foundation follows best practices in administering and evaluating grants and projects as well as measuring and reporting outcomes. The Foundation also includes collaborative partnerships that serve the health and wellbeing of all people in western North Carolina, with particular emphasis on Macon, Jackson, Swain, Graham, Clay and Cherokee Counties and the Qualla Boundary. For more information please visit the website: www.hchealthfnd.org or call 828-482-6510.