Trip to Africa was surreal

St. John’s Prep senior Lenise Dazzel is not only an active member of her school with big plans for her future, but she has also recently given her time outside of the country to Africa to help educate others about health issues.
Dazzel, who is a resident of Manhattan, was a member of the African Dance Club, Christian Service Club and St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. John’s Prep, which is located in Astoria. She also participated in the Junior States of America, where high school students debate different topics similar to a mock congress. Students also meet with different high schools as part of Junior States of America.
Some of the ways that Dazzel has been involved in the community are through volunteering in a soup kitchen, participating in breast cancer walks and assisting senior citizens.
While on a kayaking trip with Dr. Jessie Stone, Dazzel was invited, along with other students, to go to Uganda to participate in Soft Power health, which was founded by Stone in 2004. The goal of the program is to educate women and children about preventing Malaria.
“I know that they don’t have much education and that we take it for granted a lot. These children would love to go to school and they were begging for books,” Dazzel said. “That moved me a lot and I wanted to do more for them. Just educating them was really my main goal and to try to make their situation a little better than it was.”
During the trip, which ran from March 31 to April 7, Dazzel said that learning about another culture and meeting the people in Uganda was the most memorable part of the experience. She also said that the most important lesson she learned was how to adapt to different cultures and understand different people.
“My experience in Africa was surreal. Being able to travel thousands of miles and connect with the people of Uganda is something that has altered my perspective on life,” said Dazzel, who also said that her parents have been her main inspiration in life. “I have a greater appreciation for everything that people would normally take for granted and I will take full advantage of every opportunity that is presented to me.”
After she graduates from St. John’s Prep, Dazzel will attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. to major in business. She said that she chose business because of a love of math and because “the stocks really intrigue me.”
Dazzel said that, right now, she is planning on going into equity analysis and would like to one day own her own business. However, she said that if things don’t work out in the business field, she would consider something in the medical field.
Once she gets to Washington, Dazzel said that she would also love to get involved with more community service, including possibly working with children.