Presbyterian Pan American School has been a second home to a budding civil engineer from Rwanda
July 2, 2021
Officially, the Presbyterian Pan American School is a “Christian international college-preparatory boarding school located in Kingsville, Texas.” But to Adelite Hategeka, it’s a second home filled with family from around the world.
“My favorite thing about the school is the people you meet,” she said. “It is funny that many people say that they met people who became their second family, and it makes sense once you experience the same thing. We rely on each other and learn how to live together as a community. The teachers are also great because they are patient. I did not really know English when I first went there, but with their help, I slowly learned.”
Hategeka is a 2020 graduate of Pan Am, as it’s affectionately called. She was born in Kigali, Rwanda, and moved with her family to Niger when she was 7 years old after her father got a new job.
Her brother, Roger Niyongira, attended the school in 2014. Hategeka started two years later, and in her four years at Pam Am, she’s taken on some important roles — as Campus Ministry president and the leader of the Random Acts of Kindness Program.
“As the Campus Ministry president, I prepare the programs of our Tuesday and Thursday gatherings as well as the Sunday worships,” she explained. “Campus Ministry organizes two major events in the year: Splash and Celebration. I host meetings with Campus Ministry members to come up with ideas and to make sure that we all participate. I also organize meetings with the Campus Ministry council where we discuss any issues that can be resolved and come up with fundraising ideas and new ways to help the community.”
Campus Ministry started the Random Acts of Kindness program, which consisted of writing nice notes to other students as well as faculty and staff—and making sure everyone got them.
“I know from personal experience that words are powerful,” said Hategeka. “I remember when I was a freshman, I used to write motivational things on a [sticky note] and stick them inside my desk. Whenever I felt discouraged, I looked at them and they kept me going. I also had people who encouraged me through the past four years, and that is why it meant a lot to me. Receiving a simple note can change your day. It shows you that there is someone else who cares for you. It was the perfect opportunity to use words for a good cause rather than harm.”
Hategeka, who was the Rwandan representative on the student council last year, also organized the remembrance for the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis. She and other Rwandan students made ribbons to wear so others would be aware of the event. They gathered around the school’s fountain and were led in prayer by the Pan Am pastor.
“We also made a PowerPoint presentation explaining the remembrance that we presented during lunch,” said Hategeka. “It was a tragic event, and it was important to show our classmates that Rwandans came together as a community to rebuild. It was important that I tell my peers the history of my country, and how the country was reconstructed with the help of great leadership figures.”
Hategeka is a dedicated student. Her favorite subjects are English and math. She wants to thank those who support the Christmas Joy Offering through donations, because it opens up new possibilities in the lives of students who have the opportunity to attend Pan Am.
According to Pan Am’s website, “graduates go on to lives and professions that bring positive changes to the world by upholding the Christian ideals of love, service and community.” That is exactly what Hategeka hopes to do.
“I am looking forward to college life, honestly. I know it will be different from what I essentially imagined due to the pandemic, but it will be the stage where I get closer to my career goals,” she said. “My dream is to become a civil engineer. I want to build homes for other people, so I plan to specialize in structural engineering. As someone who lived in different countries, it is important to me to provide shelter for families that go through a similar journey.”
Special Offerings, Mission Engagement and Support, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: Presbyterian Pan American School
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Let us pray:
Loving God, you know us better than we know ourselves. Help us find moments to identify how you are working in our lives and using our gifts as we minister as your disciples. You do call each of us. May we hear and follow that call. Amen.