Brett Moser inspires teammates to be #MoserStrong

Sports have always been an important part of sophomore Brett Moser’s life. Playing sports, watching sports, learning and diving into a sport was and still is something that brings Moser happiness.

“Sports mean everything to me; sports are my life,” Moser said. “If I’m not playing, I’m watching. If I’m not watching, I’m on the ESPN app just looking stu up and trying to learn more.”

Playing both football and baseball at Moses Lake High School, Moser racked up quite a few awards and recognitions. His junior year of football, he was awarded first-team wide receiver and first-team in baseball as a shortstop. His senior year he was awarded first-team and all-state in football and baseball and was also a team captain in both.

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“I’ve been playing baseball since I can remember,” Moser said. “With football I’ve been playing since...third grade.”

Moser was excited to come to Whitworth and get the opportunity to play both the sports he devoted a large part of his life to in high school. However, toward the end of his freshman year of college, on his dad’s birthday, Moser headed to the doctor after discovering a lump on his stomach. After getting it checked and tested, the doctor concluded that it was a tumor touching a renal artery. Moser was then sent to Seattle for further testing in search of a further diagnosis.

“I had really good doctors who were able to gure out what it was very quickly,” Moser said. “They found out it was testicular [cancer].”

With this diagnosis, Moser started a nine-week journey with chemotherapy. Throughout those nine weeks, chemo was distributed in three sessions—each a full week long lasting four hours— each day. For the remaining two weeks, the chemo would be every Monday for three hours. Moser went into surgery a couple of weeks after this routine. The purpose of the 10 hour surgery was to remove the cancer and a kidney.

Head football coach Rod Sandberg spoke highly of Moser and the things that Moser has personally taught him.

“Brett is so positive and strong-willed,” Sandberg said. “He also has an incredible amount of confidence. It is hard for us to imagine what he has gone through at such a young age, but his confidence is inspiring to all of us and to take his perspective is important to our entire team.”

Since the surgery, Moser has been on a low fat diet and regaining his strength now that he is cancer free.

“It’s gone and there is a 98 percent chance that it won’t come back,” Moser said. “Going from being able to do stuff everyday to barely being able to walk and getting fatigued so easily has probably been my biggest struggle in this.”

Moser spoke highly about his two teams which were his main support systems. During his freshman year at Whitworth, Moser played football and baseball, contributing to both teams in important ways.

“It’s so awesome to have so many people supporting me; it really helps,” Moser said. “It’s really cool because some of my closest friends are on the football team so I get a lot of support from them and even the coaches. During one of my chemo sessions, Sandberg and his family came down and hung out with me so that was really appreciated.”

The football team has made Moser an important part of their mindset this season by starting the hashtag #MoserStrong and printing it on the back of their team shirts. The baseball team has also been keeping Moser in their thoughts by wearing bracelets during their preseason.

“‘Moser Strong’ is a vivid reminder to take some perspective in our everyday lives,” Sandberg said. “It is a reminder that life is bigger than school and football, that there are many things more important than all those things. He is so strong and such an inspiration to us. He is inspiring us everyday and we keep ‘Moser Strong’ as a reminder to us of his inspiration.”

Moser plans to return to play both football and baseball next year. His teammates are excited to get him back, but also are thankful for the lessons Moser has taught them through this journey.

“He has had such a great spirit throughout all of this,” sophomore JT Phelan said. Phelan plays both football and baseball with Moser and describes him as “hilarious, caring, and a punk.”

Moser has not only been an inspiration to his friends and relatives, but has inspired an entire team and community to be “Moser Strong.”

 

McKinley Powers

Staff Writer

Contact McKinley Powers at

mpowers18@my.whitworth.edu

Sodexo employees share their experiences as refugees

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The world’s increasing amount of refugees may seem to be an issue far removed from Whitworth, but for refugees working in Sodexo, the issue is much closer to home.

Sodexo employee Waad Noah is a 29-year-old college student working toward a degree in automotive technology at Spokane Community College. Noah and his family immigrated to the United States six years ago from Iraq, Noah said.

In 2003 early members of ISIS came to their machine shop with prints to make weapons, Noah said.

“They started to show up at the shop, giving us prints for guns to produce and stuff, for them to murder people. And as me and my dad looked at the print, we said ‘We’re not doing that,’” Noah said. “They’re gonna use these weapons to murder innocents and if we refused them, they would have killed us. So we just left everything behind and moved to Syria.”

His mother had a good job working as a nurse, so she stayed behind for a few months in Iraq to make sure she had sustainable income, Noah said.

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Noah and his family lived in Syria for three years before they were accepted to immigrate to the U.S., Noah said.

“What made us decide to come here was not us,” Noah said. “We just wanted to get away from the situation in the Middle East...We wanted to go somewhere where it’s safe.”

Sodexo employee Rim Ado was safe in Sudan before the wars started in 2011, Ado said. She and her family moved to a refugee camp between Libya and Egypt.

“We stayed in a camp about two years,” Ado said. “Oh my gosh, it was difficult time. A hard time.”

Ado stayed in a tent with eight of her family members.

“We are close...We have to share everything together, the bad things and the happy things,” Ado said.

Ado and her family came to the U.S. in 2013. She is now a student at SCC. After finishing her education at SCC, she plans to study international relations at Gonzaga, Ado said.

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Ado said she wants her children to grow up in America, but that she also wants them to know the culture they come from.

“I am hopeful in the future that everyone in the world will be safe,” Ado said.

Senior Marianne Sfeir is from Lebanon, a country that houses a lot of refugees, some of whom Sfeir said she is happy to have as close friends.

“The only extraordinary thing about them is the unjust things that have happened to them,” Sfeir said.

 

Emily Goodell

Staff Writer

Contact Emily Goodell at

egoodell18@my.whitworth.edu

Student earns grant to start Madagascar camp

IMG_6263 Last semester junior Jessica Razanadrakoto traveled the world by ship and earned the opportunity to positively impact her home country, Madagascar, with its first-ever summer camp.

Razanadrakoto said she didn’t know what to expect because she had never been on a cruise ship before, but she entered into a competition created by the Resolution Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating “leaders with a lifelong commitment to social responsibility,” according to the organization’s website.

The founders were tired of being referred to as the leaders of tomorrow and they decided to inspire the generation to be the leaders of today, according to their mission statement and story.

Through winning the Resolution Fellowship Razanadrakoto and two teammates received a U.S. Grant to develop a summer camp in her home of Moramanga, Madagascar.

Razanadrakoto believes Madagascar’s untouched potential helped them win. Razanadrakoto’s team’s camp would be the first summer camp in Madagascar, Razanadrakoto said.

“Madagascar’s education is based on memorization. Students’ performance is measured on how well they memorize the information and how well they get on the test,” Razanadrakoto said. “Though grammar, math, and history for instance could be done this way, leadership skills can’t.”

The goal of the camp is to teach the kids of Moramanga the leadership skills they don’t learn in school, Razanadrakoto said.

The first year of camp will begin in July of 2016 with an expected enrollment of 30 students.

“We will be teaching students leadership skills through sports and activities, such as Lacrosse and the human knot,” Razanadrakoto said.

An ideal day at camp would include sports in the morning, followed by lunch. Then arts and crafts and other activities, and closing the day with a discussion session on what the students learned on and off the field and why it matters in their everyday life, Razanadrakoto said.

The team working at the camp will be made up of Razanadrakoto’s winning team and five native Malagasies and five international volunteers. The 10 leaders will work with students 10-15 years old for two-week periods who were suggested by teachers in Moramanga.

Razanadrakoto had the opportunity to join in the competition that Resolution Projects hosts during the Semester at Sea program. Resolution Projects brings their Resolution Fellowship to the Semester at Sea program to find undergraduate students and helps “them implement their idea and develop as socially-responsible leaders,” according to the program description.

She struggled to find a team at first, but then came together with two other women, Laura Patterson, a D1 lacrosse player, and Sophia Connot, a student heavily involved in student leadership. Together, these near-strangers combined their skills to build a sports camp in Madagascar for leadership development for today and tomorrow, Razanadrakoto said.

The idea for the camp partially originated from Razanadrakoto’s experience in the U.S., she said.

After moving from Madagascar she began attending high school in Seattle her sophomore year. During that time she recognized Madagascar doesn’t offer nearly as many extra-curricular activities as the United States, Razanadrakoto said.

Participating in the Resolution Project gave her the chance to increase the opportunities offered to children in Madagascar, she said.

The project was not an easy one, Razanadrakoto said.

“This [process] took late nights and very little sleep,” Razanadrakoto said.

The Resolution Project competition consists of three rounds of presentations before a judging panel in which teams explain their plans for finances and organization.

The hard work paid off, Razanadrakoto said. The team felt confident in their idea after the final stage of presentations, where they competed against three other teams. She and the other members of their team knew in the back of their minds that they would win because of how well the presentation had gone, she said.

Razanadrakoto and her teammates want to create as many leaders as possible in the country, while allowing the students to have fun at the camp.

Razanadrakoto’s parents gave her a piece of land that is big enough for a school. The land is in the same area as the camp so she hopes to be able to incorporate this to further the purpose of the camp, she said. Razanadrakoto plans to be at the camp for the first few years, eventually planning on teaching others how to sustain the camp.

The time at sea wasn’t all about the project. Class would stop when a family of dolphins swam by, Razanadrakoto said of her time on the ship.

They spent two to 14 days on the water between ports, Razanadrakoto said, calling the trip amazing. The students on the ship took classes and admired the sights and cultures that come with a trip around the world.

Their journey included 12 countries, many of which were in Africa and Asia.

Departing from Ensenada, Mexico, the ship’s passengers and crew gathered on the upper deck and clapped. They continued clapping as they saw beautiful sunsets and sunrises the likes of which they had not experienced on land, Razanadrakoto said.

Razanadrakoto initially went on the trip because “traveling the world was on her bucket list” and when she saw the Semester at Sea program she couldn’t help but agree to it, she said, adding that she was excited to get to know other peoples and cultures.

Students who have an interest in a similar trip can find more information at semesteratsea.org.

More information on the Resolution Project can be found at www.resolutionproject.org. Anyone who wishes to get involved with Razanadrakoto and her team’s project can apply as an international volunteer as the camp gets started. Donations toward sports equipment/volunteers travels are also welcome as the camp enters its growth period, Razanadrakoto said.

 

Parker Postlewait 

Staff Writer

Contact Parker Postlewait at

ppostlewait16@my.whitworth.edu