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On a highway to healing hands

WHS senior Kero Morke plans for a career in medicine

Kero Morke
Kero Morke is headed for a career in the medical field, with a plan to help either the local community or her native country. (Leah Ward/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — One soon-to-be WHS graduate has big plans for the next phase of life: learning skills that will help provide medical care to those in need.

Kero Morke was born in Ethiopia, where her brother works as a doctor.

"I want to be like him, and I also like helping people," the senior said.

Morke came to Worthington with her parents and six of her siblings when she was 8 years old.

"It was difficult for me to adapt to a new country," she recalled.

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Learning English and growing accustomed to a new culture both took some time, but a decade later, Morke loves her community and wants to give back.

High school has already set her on her way to contributing to society, mainly through extracurricular activities. Morke has been involved in the National Honor Society (NHS), which prioritizes community service; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), which helps students develop community leadership skills; Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), which advocates for peer-to-peer education on sound decision making; and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Club, which provides a setting for students to explore STEM skills outside the classroom. She also played softball.

Morke's parents and siblings motivated her to be a good student throughout her schooling. Her brother, Lancho, was in ninth grade when the family immigrated to the area, and after he adjusted to the new environment, he set an example for Morke about how to be successful. She took his advice to heart, and is now preparing for big things moving forward.

"High school taught me a lot of stuff," she reflected, "like how to love myself, how to be a good student, things teenagers need to know."

She loved that District 518 teachers cared about her and her classmates not just as students, but outside the classroom, too. She named WHS English teacher Zach Brandt as one of her favorite instructors because he made the subject matter come alive, and she could feel Brandt's passion for helping students learn.

After graduation, Morke is headed for degrees in nursing: first a registered nurse certification from Minnesota West Community & Technical College, then a bachelor of science in nursing from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After that, she is pondering going to nurse practitioner school so she can prescribe medications.

Morke plans to use her medical skills to help a community near to her heart. She may take her expertise abroad, to work with her physician brother in her native country. Ethiopia has a significant need for medical personnel, with just 1,600 doctors serving a population of 83 million people, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

If not Ethiopia, Morke wants to help the Worthington area by returning to the community after her medical training. As long as she's helping people heal, she'll be happy.

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