HSU Professor inspires Dominican Republic students at Alta Vista school
(ABILENE, Texas)–Dr. Steve Stogsdill, associate professor of communication, traveled to Alta Vista school in the Dominican Republic last Friday to participate in their annual Senior Day. Together with the Dominican Advance organization, he has been participating in these mission trips since 2016.
For more than 20 years, Stogsdill has worked as an educator, which has equipped him with valuable experiences that can benefit the students in the Dominican Republic. Dr. Stogsdill has assisted the organization and development of Senior Day, and has helped the school community. This year, the school celebrated its second graduating class and aimed to provide them with a unique experience.
“Senior Day is like a workshop for students. It is about setting goals, understanding who students are, their personalities, interests, and talents. This year they were excited and wanted us to come back, so we did. I worked with an interpreter who was a great guy, and we counted with help to make the trip. The church River of Life in Abilene, as well as other friends and people, helped to sponsor the trip,” says Stogsdill.
Dominican Advance is an organization that provides aid and supplies to impoverished children. They allow donors to invest in a child’s education by sponsoring their studies. They also work with adults, providing them with assistance and advice about how to successfully start a business. A sports program is also available for supporting student-athletes and their education.
“I started to travel because one of my friend’s parents were going to one of these mission trips. We heard about it, my friends and I got excited, and we went,” says Stogsdill. “I have a passion as an educator and a passion for what they are doing. They provide for the community, but they focus on education. That made sense to me. When I was there, I found out that half of the class that graduated last year was in college. That was awesome because to qualify for the college funds they had to be at 80% or above for the last seven years. They are getting quality education and a great opportunity that, to me, is something I can connect to.”
Senior Day at Alta Vista is still being developed and improved. Dr. Stogsdill has been working on a workbook from his last trip, focusing on six significant aspects.
“I focused firstly on heart passion. Secondly, what spiritual gifts they have as a Christian people and school. Thirdly, what kind of life experiences shaped them. Then, what their skills and talents are. Next, what their personality type is, what opportunities do they have, and lastly, what has God created them for. It has been challenging to work on this because we had to make some changes so it will fit their culture and way of thinking,” says Stogsdill.
The school of Alta Vista has been growing ever since it opened its doors for the first time 12 years ago with an initial class of 30 students. In their first year, the school had 80 children enrolled. A donor provided financial aid to continue the construction of their facilities. Now, they have three campuses, and the school is still growing as they continue to add another grade every grade.
“I would love to see more Spanish career aptitude for the students — also, more training for adult careers. I would like more college training too. The people who work there are incredible. The school has an amazing staff, and they are always looking for children to sponsor,” says Stogsdill.
If you are interested in obtaining more information about Dominican Advance or providing financial aid, click here.