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"What you receive as a gift, you must give as a gift." So reads the motto of the Haitian Project, which runs the school where Derek Rogalsky (2010) served for a week during his sophomore year at Seattle University. This break from chemistry tutoring and varsity soccer inspired a yearlong return trip after graduation.
Derek was impressed by the character development in the students at the Catholic boarding school, which offers a free high school education to poor but academically gifted Haitian boys and girls. In return, the students give back three hours a day through trash collection, food distribution, or tutoring programs, while still passing graduation exams at three times the national rate. "Spending time with such people allowed me to recognize the true abundance of the blessings in my own life...I had been called to serve because I had been blessed."
Derek's interactions strengthened his resolve to become a doctor. Accepted to Georgetown Medical School, he has chosen to defer one year so that he and his wife Rebekah can return to teach, "I believe my experiences in Haiti will give me insight into serving in underserved communities and give me a sense of confidence in my choice to pursue [medical school] upon my return."
Derek's Service BioI will serve as a teacher and mentor to middle and high school aged students at Louverture Cleary school in Criox des Bouquet, Haiti. I also hope to volunteer at a Doctors Without Borders clinic during my time with the Haitian Project.
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