During the months of January and February, a little less than 2,000 pairs of feet passed through the Olive Kettering Library. So you know that there is also a certain energy level and it also stays interesting. The age range has been from less than one-year-old to people well into their 80s. Students, faculty, staff, and visiting scholars pass through and some camp in for extended periods of time.
Recently, a relatively recent graduate (2017) came through on a sojourn to see friends who are still finishing their degrees. He worked the Library desk for most of his time here. He was a bright shining light, a great worker, and had a sense of humor that indicated some joy in life.
He felt driven to be a doctor and figured what his goal might be on the MCAT to get into some good medical schools. So he had the number 507 placed overhead in his dorm room as a future goal. As he woke up in the morning, that number was there to remind him of his future destination.
In between studying he had great Co-ops. He had a Co-op with a doctor in a Cincinnati hospital (an Antioch grad) and later did field research with famous scholars about women migrant farm workers’ health in Oregon. He also received a couple of stipends from the alumni group known as “The Alumni of Courage for Diversity.” Sometimes small Co-op assists can free one up to that important research or be more comfortable economically.
He also took some advanced courses at nearby Wright State University and also a several-months-long MCAT practice seminar there. He is now doing research at the University of Florida but recently took a weekend to come and visit. He showed his first acceptance letter to the Medical School at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He is waiting for some other acceptances. His favorite might be the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York.
Last night, two friends of his, a fourth year and a first year, went over to do something in the Science Building, and when they returned, they were bursting with some extra good news. That recent grad had received a further follow-up letter. Their tuition would also be totally covered!
When they told me this, I promptly told them “You are next.” I feel in my gut that this is the case as the fourth year is taking extra courses at Wright State that have titles that need some interpretation.
The first year, Bendsondy Pierre Pier ’22, whom everyone calls Pierre, is another super-positive goal-driven human who shares his wisdom with anyone with a happy swagger. He coaches Yellow Springs High School soccer, has three campus part-time jobs including teaching French, and also works at downtown’s Nipper’s Corner (formerly BP). Many of you may remember Dennis as a local police officer. His gas station sits in the heart of downtown next to the Post Office.
“Pierre” is following in that 2017 grad’s footsteps by taking his first Co-op with that grad and Doctor in Cincinnati. He will also be receiving a Co-op stipend from the Alumni of Courage for Diversity.
When I think of everything the College has been through over the most recent years, just knowing these three students makes everything so much worth it. These will be the doctors everyone should have.
Pierre came to the United States from Haiti when he was 15. He speaks four languages, writes beats and music, raps, and has a tremendous heart. With his permission, here is some of his story in a proposal he wrote to the Alumni of Courage for Diversity Group for a Co-op stipend.
19 February 2020
The Alumni of Courage for Diversity
My name is Bendsondy Pierre, and I was born on January 7, 2000, in Les Cayemites, Haiti.
As a kid growing up I always said “one day I‘ll be a doctor, and help people. If I don’t become a doctor then I’ll be a big help to the world.” My friends laughed at me every time I said that.
On December 15, 2015, I came to the United States to start a new life and new opportunities. I didn’t speak English. I only spoke French, Haitian Creole, and Spanish. I had to start back in the ninth grade because I wasn’t able to speak English but I did not give up because I knew what I was fighting for, and the only way I can get it is through education.
After three months in the United States, I started going to school. I was enrolled at Maynard H. Jackson High School (Atlanta). On my first day at school I missed my school bus because I couldn’t understand anyone, but that didn’t discourage me. Instead that encouraged me to start learning English on my own. After six months I was able to start speaking but nobody understood me. The kids were making fun of me, even bullied me, and that still didn’t stop me. I still keep on speaking. Thanks to my ESL teachers I made it through. To be honest, my graduation day was and still is the best day of my life. I wasn’t the valedictorian of my class but I was the happiest because in a class of 268 students who were born in the United States I was ranked 105 with a GPA of 3.85 and I was the only foreign student. For me graduating high school was just the beginning because I was just the kid from Haiti since he was seven who wanted to be a doctor. And I didn’t know how because I got no help from my parents. Not because they didn’t want to help me. It’s because they can’t. Instead I am the one helping them. For the past four years that I’ve been in the United States I’ve watched my mom work six days a week at minimum wage, and wake up every morning at 6:00 AM for work, never tired in order to feed my little brother (Rachid), my little sister (Rachenie), and family in Haiti. Sometimes when school work is too much I think about my mom and that gives me the courage and reminds of what I am fighting for. She is my hero.
April will be my first Co-op. I’ll be working as an extra hand to help the doctor. For me this Co-op is a dream come true, a step closer to my future.
I’ll be using this money to pay for housing while I am there. I’ve been talking to the owner of the house and this week I’ll go visit the place. My advisor told me that this alum has been great to many students who went to co-op in this hospital. The rent will be $375 a month.
In this Co-op I want to learn and have the experience of being a doctor, I want to learn what it takes to be a doctor and make my dream come true, to be the doctor I always want to be, and help others. Also, I want to travel the world telling people my story. Let young people like me know, no matter how hard it is you can still work hard to make your dreams come true. I often tell myself and others, “Success is not a straight path. Sometimes you have to zig zag!”
There is no doubt in my mind that the current next two pre-meds who are following a similar path as the 2017 grad will not only get to their destinations (with or without any conjectured MCAT motivational number.) And for sure they will create many victories for humanity. The number for this hope is 100%.
It is awesome to share their hopes and joys and really some of the reasons why we should be here.
For a trans-generational and cross-cultural moment here is a video made by Khalil Nasar ’17 and Bendsondy Pierre. There are subtitles in places. It was filmed in Yellow Springs and Dayton. Maybe you know enough Kreyòl or French to get this gist.
Whether it is these three pre-meds or Khalil, I know there are many victories coming. Much love to all. Please keep in mind the Million Dollar March Match and Reunion in October. Let’s celebrate our collective joys as we catch them!