During our weekly meeting Monday, 10/7/2019, we honored Jenifer Mendonca, our Florida Atlantic University High School 2019-20 Rotary Scholar for October.  The FAU HS Rotary Scholar of the Month is selected by the FAU HS staff in recognition of character, ethics, morality, community service, and academic achievement. Our sponsor for Jenifer is Past President Ana Londono, Thank you Ana.
As expected, Jennifer told us about her dual enrollment experience working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences while completing requirements for graduation from FAU HS in spring of 2020.  As she told us about organizations she has been involved with, such as Asian Student Union and American Medical Student Association, we discovered a delightful and very poised and compassionate young woman.  
Jennifer explained that she spent most of her early education years in the Philippines, her home country, where her mother and brothers moved, when Jennifer was 6, to get more supporting care for her younger brother Jacob, diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old.  During those initial years adjusting to new dual language environment was difficult, but she also learned personal communication skills growing up in a loving family with two brothers, one non-verbal due to autism. 
She developed into a very determined person, ultimately topping her classmates in studies, and now back in the US, she continues to excel in studies as well as reaching out to serve others in school and community.  Jennifer told us about her service in Boca Raton Regional Hospital, more than 200 hours already, transporting patients and offering them comfort, assisting and occasionally delivering flowers. She also enjoys working with friends and family at Schott Communities, where she also assists disabled individuals, and helps with worship as a lector and altar server, plus serves as a class helper.  Jennifer and her family also raised more than $650 using GoFundMe to get blankets and art supplies for the organization.  In this service, Jennifer learned "that a singular conversation or even a smile can impact a person's outlook or change their mod for the better."
She also said: "Everything I've learned from my family, my school, and my extracurriculars has strengthened my conviction to become a physician.  I am sure that my place in this world is that of a healer."  Jennifer is well on her way as a member of the National Honor Society, the Max Plank Data Science class ( a newly pioneered interdisciplinary program that teaches about the relatively new field of data science), member of the FAU clubs American Medial Student Association and Asian Student Union, teaching Calculus 1 as a Teaching Assistant, and tutoring fellow math students.  After her spring 2020 graduation from FAU HS she plans to continue earning Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences in spring 2021, then onto earning Master's degree and entering Medical School.
Jennifer was accompanied by her Father Fred, Mother Arlene, brothers Jacob and Joseph, and her aunt Shirley Mendonca. Additionally, FAU HS Assistant Principal Christine Rick and our Honorary Member and FAU HS teacher and Interact Club Advisor Robin Barkes introduced Jenifer and offered a brief highlight of Jennifer's character and qualification for the honor as FAU HS Rotary Scholar for October 2019.  Ana Londono expressed her enthusiasm as sponsor when President Susan Meister presented the certificate to Jennifer.  Congratulations Jennifer, well earned honor and we're sure you will do well pursuing your career in healing. We'll see you again in the spring for our FAU HS Rotary Scholar Gala May 4, 2020.