Rockland Scholar-Athlete: Albertus Magnus' Madison Kandoth
One youngster's plight inspired the senior to pursue a career in medicine.
This week's Journal News Rockland Scholar-Athlete of the Week and her family hosted a mother, Jaliah, and son from Uganda when Kandoth was 13. The 2-year-old child, named Jingo, needed open-heart surgery.
The opportunity to bring Jingo to the United States came through Kandoth's mother, Laura, a history teacher at Mahwah (N.J.) High School who runs the Interact Club there. The Interact Club, whose motto is "Service above self," allows young people to join together to tackle the issues in their community that they care about most.
The club raised $7,000 to allow Jaliah and her son to come for the surgery, which was performed pro bono at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.
"That whole experience in taking care of him and his mother for a month when he needed open-heart surgery kind of sparked an interest for me in the medical field," Kandoth said. "I've been interested in the sciences."
A lacrosse player who scored her 100th varsity goal on Thursday, Kandoth plans to pursue a biomedical major in the premed program at SUNY Cortland. The experience also motivated her to bring an Interact Club to Albertus Magnus, which she did her freshman year.
"I've been doing a lot of volunteer work and I feel that's the right path for me," Kandoth said. "What my mother and the club was able to do inspired me to help other people, and that's what I want to do with my life. I want to be a doctor. I want to do what the doctors did for Jingo."
Some of that volunteer work with the Interact Club included time with the Campus Ministry Club. The clubs work hand in hand.
Kandoth, who also competed on the volleyball and winter track teams, plans to play lacrosse in college.
During Jingo's time with her family, she got a chance to understand his family's culture and religion.
"He's the most adorable child I've ever seen," Kandoth said. "His mother would cook for us. They showed us how they pray; they're Muslim. It was a very cool experience learning about their culture."
The Journal News Rockland Scholar-Athlete of the Week program honors students for academic, athletic and community achievements. Each week a winner is selected from nominees submitted by athletic directors. Only seniors can be nominated, and the award can be won only once. Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. Monday. The presenting sponsor for The Journal News Rockland Scholar-Athlete program is Gary Goldberg Financial Services.