She’s Student and Teacher

Third year medical student Karen Schught continues to mentor the junior high school students she taught, from across the country.

March 25, 2012

My name is Karen Schugt and I am currently a 3rd year at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.  Before attending medical school I was a junior high teacher at an underserved school just outside of Los Angeles.  In attempts to get the kids excited about learning I put together an Academic Decathlon team to enter into the yearly Junior High Academic Decathlon in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.  After lots of hard work I had established a program that was successful and truly inspired children to learn, who otherwise might not have cared.  Then I got into medical school.  Still passionate about the cause I stay involved, coaching the team via the internet and scheduling teaching sessions while I was home on my vacations.  It has taken up a lot of my free time over the years, and taken away vacation time that I otherwise would have spent with family and friends; but watching the passion that these children now show towards learning is more important to me that anything else I have done.  This March I was there to see my Academic Decathletes tower over the competition winning in every subject and placing 13th in an Archdiocese that contains over 250 schools, a feat that has never happened in the school’s history.  My reward is seeing the joy in their eyes when they realize for the first time what they really can accomplish and no monetary value could compensate for that.  I plan to be involved with this program for a long time, no matter where life takes me because they are worth it.