Since she was just a young girl, Caroline Slone knew she wanted to spend her time caring for people, particularly babies. As a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) nurse at WakeMed, she is living out her calling helping the tiniest humans survive and thrive. “Growing up, I loved to ‘play nurse’ with my baby dolls,” says Slone. “I would pretend to give them shots, put real band aids on them, and even change their diapers with real diapers my mom would buy me.”
Slone is a 2011 graduate of the Franciscan School, a place she says helped shape her into the person she is today. “Attending a school for 9 years that put Christ at the center of what they do and teach gave me the tools I needed to carry that into high school, college, and beyond,” shares Slone.
Slone had the privilege of attending TFS from Kindergarten through eighth grade. After she graduated, she attended Cardinal Gibbons High School where she ran track and danced. She then went on to East Carolina University to receive her nursing degree. In the beginning of her nursing career three years ago, Slone worked in the cardiovascular and thoracic unit. While she enjoyed her time there, she felt the pull to return to her calling: caring for babies and their families. “It is not always an easy and glamorous job,” says Slone, “but seeing babies that are born very prematurely go home with their families, make the hard times worth it.”
During Slone’s time at TFS, the joy and compassion of her teachers continues to impact her life today. Even after all these years, she still remembers her kindergarten assistant, Marie Leone, and her first-grade teacher, Mrs. Burdette. Slone’s class was the first graduating class in the new middle school building, as well as the only class to travel to Washington, D.C. twice. “We were the only class to go twice,” says Slone, “because in 7th grade, we were learning about the TerraCotta Warriors and the exhibit came to the Smithsonian. This gave us the opportunity to take the field trip a year earlier.”
It’s clear that TFS means a lot to Slone and her family. Currently, Slone’s mom is a 5th grade teacher at the school. She shares that while at TFS, she made many lifelong friends and has so many positive memories. Like most students and alumni, field day at TFS was always one Slone’s favorite days of the year.
Slone shares that throughout her life, her mom always taught her to “take the high road.” This has proven to be incredibly valuable to her, and she wants to share this advice with students at TFS. In addition, she wants to share that it’s okay to make mistakes. “Mistakes are proof that you are trying and they will help you learn and grow,” Slone encourages. “You wouldn’t learn how to do something right if you never did anything wrong.”