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Alumni Spotlight: Kayla Wagoner '13


Kayla Wagoner '13 graduates in May 2017 from nursing school at Marian University, where she is a San Damiano Scholar.

Name: Kayla Wagoner
Year of Scecina Graduation: 2013
College/University: Marian University
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (May 2017)
Current Position: San Damiano Scholar, Marian University; student nurse, Community East and IU hospitals

By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications

Kayla Wagoner ’13 greeted me with a hug as she welcomed me to Marian University’s Michael A. Evans Center for Health Science. “This is where I’ve spent my life for four years,” she said with a laugh. 

Kayla is taking what she learned at Scecina Memorial High School and turning it up a notch. Teachers at Scecina remember her working hard and putting passion into her classwork, afterschool activities and service. She went on a mission trip to New Orleans and took several Advanced Placement courses at Scecina. She was involved! 

Scecina, she said, taught her to lead by example. “We have good leaders of faith at Scecina, many people to look up to,” she said. This week, Kayla graduates from Marian, where she – again – is involved. She’s a nursing student and a San Damiano scholar who also works as a student nurse at two Indianapolis hospitals. That means little down time for Kayla, who is looking forward to graduating this month, putting classes behind her and getting a job in a critical care unit at a hospital. The high energy she had while a student at Scecina is carrying her through her college experience. 

“The challenge of the AP classes at Scecina, especially science, really prepared me for college and nursing classes,” she said. “I really learned good study habits.” 

Kayla was chosen as a San Damiano scholar when she was a senior at Scecina. Marian University’s San Damiano Scholars Program for Church Leadership “educates and forms college students who have a love for their Church.” It aims to create leaders in the Catholic Church and it’s for students interested in becoming leaders in their parishes and in health care, nonprofits or schools. San Damiano scholars minor in pastoral care and must fulfill several requirements, including monthly meetings, annual retreats, eight hours of service each month and a sophomore service project. Click here for a more thorough description of the program. 

For her sophomore service project, Kayla organized a 10-day mission trip to Valley of the Angels orphanage in Guatemala. Originally a home for abandoned and orphaned children, Valley of the Angels’ mission now includes all children in need. “The reason we were there was to spread love, to spread God’s love,” said Kayla, who said the volunteers worked but also were encouraged just to go out to recess and play with the children. 

She took another mission trip with the nursing department to Guatemala where the focus was public health. The group brought along medicine and supplies and provided health education to people in areas that don’t have access to primary health care professionals or even the Internet to educate themselves. 

The volunteering and mission work she has done as a student at Scecina and Marian continues to call her. Her experience as a nurse and a San Damiano scholar, she said, is preparing her for a life of service. 

“My passion is mission work. That’s why I chose nursing as a career,” she said. “I’ll be able to really help people when I go on mission trips. I have clinical skills that I can use and see the change in the world.” 

At Marian, Kayla is treasurer for the Student Nurse Association and vice president of fundraising for Marian’s chapter of College Mentors for Kids. She is a peer tutor and a member of Delta Epsilon Sigma, a national scholastic honor society for students at Catholic universities; Sigma Theta Tau, the Honor Society of Nursing; and the National Society of Leadership and Success 

Kayla’s parents and her sister and brother also all are Scecina graduates: Cliff Sr. ‘79 and Julie (Barth) Wagoner ’81; and Allysen ’09 and Cliff Jr. ‘11. They attend Our Lady of Lourdes parish, where Kayla and her siblings went to school.

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