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Nave empathizes with her students

November 10, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Kay Nave said she listens sympathetically when some of her students at Hagerstown Business College talk about how hard it is to go to school and work at the same time.

Nave knows all about that.

"They find it's hard to pull the wool over my eyes," said the 46-year-old medical assisting program director at the college.

In addition to her full-time employment at the college, Nave also is working toward her bachelor of science degree in business/health-care administration.

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"I am enrolled through Kaplan, the corporate owner of Hagerstown Business College," said Nave, who is taking two courses each semester online. She already has earned two associate of applied science degrees from the college, the first in medical/reception/transcription and the second in medical assisting, the department she now directs.

All of her work and study resulted in Nave being named HBC's Distinguished Alumnus of the Year at Nov. 1 graduation exercises at North Hagerstown High School.

"I knew ahead of time so I could prepare a speech, but I was sworn to secrecy," Nave said. "The honor was overwhelming for me."

A native of Hancock, Nave received her high school diploma as Kay Bohrer in 1974.

"I was already working and going to school, even at that age," she said.

After 10 years working at an independent grocery store in Hancock, she began working for Sheetz.

"I opened the Sheetz store on the Dual Highway in 1982 as manager," Nave said. It was at that store where she met her future husband, Spencer Nave Jr., a trucker who often stopped there for coffee.

Married in 1984, Nave changed jobs a few years later, first to the Census Bureau and later to Citicorp.

She then became ill and couldn't work for several years.

"Right after Spencer and I renewed our wedding vows in 1994, he encouraged me to finish my education," Nave said.

Together they went to HBC, where she first enrolled in the medical/reception/transcription course of study.

Despite a lot of physical and emotional hurdles, Nave applied herself to her studies, maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average throughout both her degree programs.

After a three- to four-year stint working in a doctor's office, Nave joined the faculty of the college where she earned her two degrees.

"When I teach, I give each student the respect he or she deserves," Nave said. "I have young students and I have older students, so I need to meld them together to focus on what they need to learn."

Nave said she serves as adviser to approximately 200 students who are enrolled in the programs she teaches. She meets with each of them periodically during the 12-week semesters to make sure they stay on course.

As if work, school and family weren't enough, Nave also is an active volunteer in the community, giving her time to the Washington County Sheriff's Department in Hagerstown.

"My philosophy is that I want to do as much as I can to improve things for others," Nave said. "After all, life is short."

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