Patricia Fina Weaver and Peggy McGee
Petty Officer 3rd Class Carissa Gibson, a 2017 Walden Grove High School Scholarship recipient, was the first The Women of Quail Creek (TWOQC) high school winner who elected to attend a community college to complete the requisite courses before going on to university. She attended Cochise Community College in Sierra Vista, majoring in Nursing.
While she was in her second year of college, her brother joined the Navy and was stationed in South Carolina. Carissa’s parents wanted to be near him, so they moved the family to the Charleston area. Carissa saw the wonderful opportunities that her brother was having in the Navy and decided to join also.
She was first assigned to Great Lakes Naval Training Center on the western shore of Lake Michigan, near Chicago, for basic training. When asked what the hardest part of naval training was, she said initially it was having to adapt to getting up before 5 a.m. every morning! She reported that towards the end of basic, she knew she had gone through a lot, faced a lot of challenges, but was getting tired and anxious to see her family again, start her career, and stop being a trainee. She said at times it took a lot of convincing herself to keep going and not quitting. She believes the most valuable skill the Navy taught her is to keep going even through the toughest situations.
In giving up her original plan to become a nurse, Carissa said: “It’s all how you take it and roll with life. Life never stops changing.” And this time it’s for the better.
She has gone into a field which very few women have entered, Machinist Mate Nuclear. Her good grades and ability to excel in science enabled her to be selected for the highly technical field; therefore Carissa entered the Navy as an E-3. She is being trained to perform duties in nuclear propulsion plants operating reactor control, propulsion, and power generation systems. Successful completion of the two-year training program in the Charleston area will earn her a position on either a submarine or aircraft carrier. Although her days are long, sometimes from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., she says she loves it.
Carissa offered her gratitude to the TWOQC Scholarship Committee for giving her the opportunity to get started on her college degree without incurring a lot of debt.
TWOQC wishes her success in all her endeavors, and thanks her for choosing to serve her country.
COVID-19 has prevented the usual activities to raise funds for scholarships for at least the rest of 2020. Contributions to the TWOQC Scholarship Fund will enable them to continue to offer scholarships for the next school year. All donations, both large and small, are deeply appreciated and promptly acknowledged.