BRIGHT FUTURES – Nederland senior Grace Washburn on path to become active Army nurse

Published 12:26 am Tuesday, April 5, 2022

When asked what she does at school, Nederland High School senior Grace Washburn started with her involvement in soccer and cross-country.

“I was in the band for three years and I was a twirler for two years,” she said. “I quit that to go to basic training for the Army. I came back and decided I wanted to be a deflator — we blowup the big doghouse for the football players to run through.”

Next came Terrific Nederland Teens.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We spread awareness of don’t do drugs and alcohol,” she said.

And there’s Student Council, where she’s been an active participant since 5th grade.

She’s in the Certified Nursing Assistant program, for which she recently passed the exam, and takes all Advance Placement classes.

Grace Washburn enlisted in basic training for the U.S. Army last year and ultimately plans to be a nurse in active duty. (Monique Batson/The News)

“That’s just a little bit about what I do here,” she said nonchalantly, seemingly unaware it was enough to keep multiple students plenty busy.

But that’s just what she juggles at school.

The Nederland native is also an active member of St. Charles Catholic Church.

“On Wednesdays, we have Life Night, where a bunch of high school teens can go. We eat; we just get to hang out for an hour,” Washburn said. “And for 30-45 minutes we have a lesson that our youth pastor will talk about with us and we get our lesson in for the day. Then on Thursday mornings at 6:45 a.m. we have a 30-minute mass. I love to go to that because it’s just a good way to start your day.”

School staff members recognize how unique the 18-year-old truly is.

“Grace Washburn is the epitome of what a Nederland Bulldog is. She is kind, brilliant, and goes above and beyond everyday to make those around her better,” said Assistant Principal Lauren Sanders. “She has pride in her community and excels in anything that is thrown her way.”

Sanders called Washburn a “one-of-a-kind” student.

“Nederland High School is fortunate because of her commitment to excellence in and out of the classroom,” she said. “Grace’s future is bright and we are beyond proud of her for what she has accomplished and what she will accomplish in the future.”

Her future will start a little like her past, as she returns this summer to complete basic training.

Enrolled in the U.S. Army’s Split Option program, high school juniors spend the summer between junior and senior year in true basic training. Then the summer after their senior year, they return for job training.

Afterward, Washburn plans to attend Stephen F. Austin State University to study nursing while working as a CNA.

“I am excited. I really do like it,” she said of the campus in Nacogdoches. “That wasn’t the only college I visited; I visited other ones. But… first of all, it’s not a big college, and I like that because a lot of people there knew each other. I wanted somewhere I’d know people and communicate real well, and that one gave me good vibes.”

Washburn hadn’t always planned to become a nurse, first wanting to be a dentist. But, she said, as she began looking into all parts of the medical field, she decided on a different path.

“Last year I really decided I wanted to be a surgical nurse in the operating room. I hope to be a nurse in the Army,” she said. “After I graduate from college, I plan to go active and become a full-time nurse in the Army.”

As for college, she’s just looking forward to settling into her new temporary home.

“I hope to meet new people and get involved in some of the activities there,” she said. “And I just hope nursing school is easier than everyone says.”