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Student nurses awarded scholarship from La Grange Memorial Hospital Foundation

 From left: Mariann Kerley, Brett Skeen, Cheryl Zilvitis, Jayci Hojeck.

Not pictured: Melissa Holden

La Grange – The La Grange Memorial Hospital Foundation presented the annual Harold & Leona Ford Nursing Scholarship to four aspiring nurses: Mariann Kerley, of Elmhurst, Cheryl Zilvitis, of Justice, Jayci Hojek, of Minooka, and Melissa Holden, of Countryside. Each will receive up to $4,000 in financial assistance for nursing program tuition and books.

Cheryl Zilvitis, who will be graduating from Moraine Valley Community College in December, has always had a passion for the medical field and helping others. Zilvitis hopes to be an emergency department nurse someday soon and looks forward to being the one who makes the patient feel better. She enjoys assisting patients and making a difference not only in each patient’s life, but also in the lives of their loved ones.

Mariann Kerley has promoted cardiovascular health and fitness within Adventist Midwest Health for the last 20 years as an exercise physiologist in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. She began her healthcare career at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, and is currently employed at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. By expanding her scope of practice, Kerley pledges to continue to provide quality, holistic care to all of the patients with whom she interacts.

 “I am confident that my new vocation as a registered nurse will make a significant difference in the lives of my patients and their families,” Kerley said. “My goal, upon successfully completing the NCLEX (state board exam), is to share my newly acquired skills and knowledge within my current department, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, by working as both an RN and exercise physiologist.”

As a recent graduate of the College of DuPage, Melissa Holden is embracing each and every opportunity in her nursing experience. She is eager to have the ability to extend compassionate care while diligently trying to impact the lives of each and every patient she encounters. Holden finds joy in watching patients making progress and great strides toward recovery.

Holden works in the coronary care unit (CCU) at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital as a patient care technician and unit secretary and starting in August, she will be in the New Graduate RN Residency program in the CCU.

Adventist Midwest Health’s New Graduate RN Residency program helps new nurses begin their career with guidance from experienced staff, providing education and training to them as they begin to care for patients in the busy hospital setting. 

“Becoming a nurse will be a dream come true,” Holden said.

Jayci Hojek has told her parents she has wanted to be a nurse for as long as she can remember. Born premature, Hojek attended yearly reunions with other neonatal intensive care graduates. Here, she was reunited with the nurses who took care of her as a baby. Ever since then, Hojek knew nursing was for her.

The La Grange Memorial Hospital Foundation furthers the mission of Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital by promoting philanthropy and good will for the hospital. Executive Director Brett Skeen said this year’s scholarship recipients embodied the compassion, drive, intelligence and commitment necessary to excel in nursing.

“We are eager to see their accomplishments as nurses and are confident they will make us proud,” Skeen said. “This scholarship is a great opportunity that assists them in pursuing their nursing education.”

The Harold & Leona Ford Nursing Scholarship is available to full-time nursing students who meet the following requirements:

  • are in the final year of an accredited associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing program,
  • maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better during the period for which assistance is provided,
  • will obtain an Illinois Registered Nurse (RN) license within six months of graduation.

This scholarship is made possible by the late Harold & Leona Ford through an endowed gift to Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.



Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit


Media contact: Molly Geraghty, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,; 630-856-2356