Students from Young Women’s College Prep Academy waited quietly in the sunny, glass-enclosed commons area of the campus as they waited for Carla Carter, the school nurse.
As she rounded the corner, a line of teachers began to cheer and wave pom-poms, while the students held up signs celebrating Carter being named the HISD Secondary Nurse of the Month for February.
Representatives from the district were on hand Thursday to present the award. This was the second month that HISD recognized Nurse of the Month honorees, one for elementary schools and another for secondary schools.
Clad in her black scrubs and armed with her emergency kit, Nurse Carter was only missing a cape—at least that’s what the school’s principal believes.
“Nurse Carter is truly a superhero. She has always gone above and beyond her call of duty for our girls and community,” Principal April Williams said. “She has carried the burden of so many during this trying year but continues to come to work happy and ready for whatever challenge lies ahead.”
The past year has had its challenges for Nurse Carter, but she says she’s still excited to show up to work every day.
“I love my school. I love my students. I love my staff,” Carter said. “I love kids, and I love to encourage them. I figure if I sow into them now, it’ll reap rewards later in life.”
Later in the day at DeAnda Elementary School, that school’s nurse F. Deneen Mickens was surprised in the school library, where she broke out into a literal happy dance.
As Assistant Principal Amada Garza said, she plays a big part in keeping that campus safe, healthy, and—of course—happy.
“Our beloved nurse is the prime example of what an exceptional nurse should be,” Garza said. “We are so proud of her, treasure her, and very lucky that she is part of our DeAnda family.”
The words “above and beyond” were a common refrain for Mickens. Along with her typical duties as the school nurse, she also plays a big part in tracking attendance for students as well as coordinating and organizing the school’s fire drill schedule, among many other duties.
She even personally sends text messages to eligible staff members when she hears of openings for vaccination appointments.
For Mickens, it is all just a part of her love for DeAnda Elementary. Growing up she wanted to be either a nurse or a teacher. This role, she says, is the best of both worlds.
“I’m just trying to keep them safe. Safety comes first,” Mickens said. “I absolutely love these children.”
If you are interested in nominating someone for Nurse of the Month, you can learn more on the process here.