Pay it Forward Scholarship Profile: Danielle Derouen

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) Every life has hardships according to Danielle Derouen.

The 18-year-old graduate of Abbeville High is a recipient of this year’s Glenn Armentor “Pay It Forward” full college scholarship program.

She says hardships can do one of two things, define you or drive you to succeed.

Here’s her story of how she made it, in her words.

“My dad has the eye disease Retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

Growing up for the first 14 years of my life, he was there for like maybe seven days a month because he was always offshore and we had the offshore income.

Then when 2017 hit, he had to quit because he became disabled; It was kinda hard.

They didn’t realize that it did strike me. It was no more, like, days together going fishing.

And then Covid hit and we were like, it was like, a full circle going back to the whole what’s our income going to look like again.

So just through that, I was really able to grow up a lot faster to understand what was going on.

Every life has hardships, and these were my hardships.

It was tough to go through at times, but with me getting the scholarship, saving money by having to pay less for college, saving up that money for medical school.

Once I build up my own practice, I’ll be able to open up like, my own business that will be non-profit and be able to give free care to kids, birth defect babies, children with diseases or conditions that affect their bodies and also burn victims.

Beauty is whatever you define it as. But building up with the whole cosmetic plastic surgery will allow me to save up to open the non-profit organization that I want to build.

It’s just a major thank you to him being that I’m able to particpate in the scholarship and be able to be a recipient of it because with this money it’s going to be able to push me further into my secondary education and work even harder for it because it’s like he’s counting on me to do better and to do good for myself.”

Danielle plans to attend UL, then go on to medical school to become a plastic surgeon.

She wants to pay it forward by helping children and people in need providing them with free medical care through a non-profit she plans to one day establish.  She also describes herself as a feminist and wants to inspire more educational and empowerment opportunities for women of all ages.

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