PERRY TOWNSHIP — Annabell Plaugher spent her final year of high school working as a nursing assistant in a Lima nursing home, balancing a busy schedule of college classes, athletics and volunteer activities with two part-time jobs, all while the coronavirus pandemic unfolded.
Through it all, the Perry High School senior has maintained a 3.5 grade-point average and a deeper appreciation for her future career as a nurse.
“I was always driven to that profession,” Plaugher said.
Plaugher was inspired to pursue nursing by her grandmother and her aunt, both nurses who were “strong, powerful” women in Plaugher’s life.
As a child, when other children would pretend to be teachers or cops, Plaugher would stick tape in her friends’ arms, pretending to insert IVs.
Plaugher is well on her way to becoming a nurse full-time, having spent the last two years working as a state-tested nursing assistant and activities assistant for Shawnee Manor and earning enough college credits through Rhodes State College to start clinicals in the fall.
Plaugher starts each school day at Perry High School, leaving early each morning for college-credit plus classes at Rhodes State. She gets a quick break at home, with enough time to change and finish her homework before heading back out for volleyball or cheer practice and alternating shifts at Fat Jack’s Pizza and the nursing home.
Despite working nearly 40 hours each week, Plaugher still finds time to preside over Perry High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions club and as vice president of its National Honor Society chapter.
She volunteers with the Big Brothers Big Sisters youth mentorship organization and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Plaugher has been an active athlete since her freshman year of high school, playing varsity softball during her freshman and sophomore years and varsity volleyball all four years of high school.
Her advice to incoming students: Don’t be scared to fail.
“I’m always like, ‘Oh, I’m going to be too busy to join that.’ And then I joined it, and I really enjoyed it,” Plaugher said.