Audrey Johnson, named the 2020-2021 recipient of the John N. Bennett Scholarship, is a sophomore in the Radiography program at WCC and will graduate in May 2021.

Audrey Johnson

Becoming a registered Radiography Technologist was never a career Johnson ever had a desire to do. A turning point in her life came in December 2018 when her daughter had to have a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia. Johnson was intrigued with the profession from that point on.

Johnston stated, “Seeing how friendly and patient the technologists were with my daughter and me, explaining everything they were doing to make her comfortable, made me realize that this was a profession that I could be passionate about. I could make connections with patients while providing a valuable service to the community. Since beginning the program in August 2019 and spending time at the clinical facilities, I have grown to love practicing as a student technologist. The challenge of learning how to produce a diagnostic image paired with making the patient comfortable with the exam allows me to leave each day feeling accomplished and blessed in knowing I have helped serve the healthcare community.” Johnson added, “Having this scholarship available in our community is a blessing to the recipients that receive this award annually. The financial assistance is helping me complete my senior year as a radiography student and start my career serving others.”

In 1956, Dr. John N. Bennett, a radiologist at Wilkes General Hospital, had a vision to begin a Radiologic Technologist training program, a rigorous, two-year certificate program that taught students how to be effective radiologic technologists.

As the program flourished, the John N. Bennett Endowment Corporation was established on June 8, 1989, to honor Dr. Bennett’s contribution to the profession, as well as the program, by raising funds to be used for the educational and scientific benefit of students, current and preceding, of the hospital-based program.

The Wilkes General Hospital School of Radiologic Technology, later renamed Wilkes Regional Medical Center School of Radiologic Technology, was administered through Wilkes Regional Medical Center from 1956 until June 2013. From the time of its conception in 1956, until June 2013, the program served approximately 319 students. However, due to a change in the American Registry of Radiologic Technology standards, requiring all Radiologic Technologists to have at a minimum an associate degree to be eligible to sit for the national registry; the program was transferred to Wilkes Community College. The Wilkes Community College Radiography Program transferred in six currently enrolled WRMC School of Radiologic Technology students and accepted a new cohort of first-year students in the Fall of 2013.

In the Spring of 2015, the board of directors for the John N. Bennett Endowment Corporation saw fit to dissolve the corporation and made a donation to Wilkes Community College on December 15, 2015, to fund the John N. Bennett Scholarship for radiography students and to honor the originally intended goals of the John N. Bennett Endowment Corporation.

Members of the previously established John N. Bennett Endowment Fund are Kristain Miller, Angie Blevins, Dianne Davis, Sharon Absher, and Ruth Adams. Betty Winslow was a consultant.

Contributions to the John N. Bennett Scholarship may be sent to WCC Foundation/John N. Bennett Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC 28697.