Lynlee Derrick desires to integrate her passion for Spanish into her future career in the medical field

Lynlee Derrick desires to integrate her passion for Spanish into her future career in the medical field

Freshman Lynlee Derrick uses her love for Spanish and experience in HOSA to engender a passion in her future career in the medical field. Since the time she was born, she was engulfed in the Spanish language, a fact that she would later grow to be extremely thankful of.

“I was born [in South Carolina], but I already had a house here because of my dad’s job,” Lynlee said. “It’s really nice to stay in contact with [my family in South Carolina] because they’ve had a big impact on me with my grandmother being a Spanish teacher. She would speak Spanish to me when I was little, and I had no clue what it meant, but it really piqued my interest in the language.”

Little did Lynlee know that the spark from her grandmother would ignite a flame of passion for the Spanish language and culture for years to come.

“It’s a beautiful language,” Lynlee said. “It’s really nice to be able to experience a culture and learn a language that’s different than ours. It’s connecting people around the world which is something that not a lot of people have the advantage to do.”

Lynlee plans on taking Spanish all four years of high school, starting her process of completing every Spanish class while in 8th grade. With so much love for the language, it’s no surprise that Lynlee wanted to put her knowledge into action. She was inspired by her Spanish teacher Carlos Silvestre and decided to go on the summer Dominican Republic trip that he is leading to help her accomplish just that.

“This summer,” Lynlee said, “I’m traveling to the Dominican through the Spanish program to volunteer in a local community and experience the culture that I’m currently studying. I’m really excited because it’s hands-on, and I’d love to give back to the people.”

Adding onto her already fondness of the Spanish language, Lynlee also found a passion for a variation of the language: Catalan, which is spoken by 9 million people in Catalonia and the northeastern modern part of Spain.

“When we started this year [of Spanish 2], we learned about the Spanish culture a little bit and within Spanish culture, they speak many different languages depending on the area,” Lynlee said. “Everyone [in Spain] speaks Spanish, but there’s Catalan.”

Although not required, Lynlee found herself teaching and learning the language on her own, driven by a love for variations of culture and the uniqueness of the language.

“I started learning Catalan this year because it’s similar to Italian, and I started practicing Italian seriously a couple of weeks ago,” Lynlee said. “I just love to learn about other languages and the cultures because compared to America, we’re a mixture of all these cultures, and there’s no real defined one. So when people come here, there’s a huge culture shock. The architecture is so different in Spain and all of these places, and I love learning the languages. I hope to travel to those places someday.”

Despite the love of the languages being enough to captivate Lynlee on their own, she also plans on putting her knowledge to use for future applications. Lynlee desires to pursue a minor revolving around Spanish or Italian. With the use of her knowledge of multiple languages, she plans to use it in the pursuit of a career in the medical field, which she would like to major in. Having the extensive practice with them will help her be able to communicate with a wide variety of people, something Lynlee is thankful for.

“I know not everyone in America is very fluent in English,” Lynlee said. “So, hopefully being bilingual will help in a caretaking job. I’ll be able to understand patients and reach out to the communities that are more bilingual. It’s all just preparing me for when I get out into the real world, I can experience and travel and see new things that can open up my eyes and burst the bubble that I’ve grown up in living in Forest Hills.”

It’s no surprise that with Lynlee’s desire to pursue a career in the medical field, she also gained a head start in preparing for the job while in high school. Lynlee joined HOSA in hopes of learning more about the field and the job she loves.

“It’s very strange going from a normal school day where we don’t have those medical-based terms in classes,” Lynlee said. “All of a sudden you go to a HOSA competition and see all these words that you’ve never seen before. Especially in the event that I did, which was Creative Problem-Solving. There wasn’t a lot of medical terms involved, but it just made me think. It was really interesting to be put on the spot and have to come up with something to help fix a problem that is currently plaguing our country. That’s been quite the experience that has been preparing me for hopefully medical school or something in that field.”

Going along with her prepping for real-world situations is her after-school job as a babysitter. There, Lynlee is exposed to all different sorts of backgrounds, which allows her to be exposed to more cultures, languages, and chances to use her knowledge of Spanish more than just in school. Lynlee is able to experience all these new opportunities by babysitting a bilingual family.

“It’s just very cool to see that Spanish isn’t just something I use in a classroom, it’s something that I can use to communicate outside in the real world to make real connections,” Lynlee said. “By babysitting for various families with various backgrounds, it’s really opened me up to other cultures because not all the families I babysit for are typical Forest Hills families.”

Participating in extracurriculars is definitely enticing to Lynlee as displayed in not only HOSA bu also running for student council. This year, Lynlee ran for and was elected as secretary for the Class of 2021. Through this position, Lynlee was able to learn communication and task management, as well as learn about how there are more opportunities to become a part of something bigger in this school than she had ever realized beforehand.

“It just has really helped me see that there’s a lot more you can be a part of here, it’s not just your everyday life,” Lynlee said. “You can affect other students and be a part of something bigger than yourself. It also has helped me with planning my own future. It has really helped me be responsible and take accountability for my actions and the world and what effect I have. It has really made me more diligent with my work and [pursuing opportunities] that have a bigger effect than on myself.”

As surprising as it sounds with Lynlee’s very apparent love for school and learning, she was not always this way. Lynlee remembers a time when school felt like more like a job than an opportunity. However, this all changed with the impact of her older brother, Tripp Derrick.  

“I really didn’t like school as a kid, I would just go there and get the best grades as I could to be as good as my brother,” Lynne said. “My brother really showed me that you have to be good at school and have a passion to go places, so he’s always inspired me to do better and keep pushing myself.”

Lynlee also found that her brother was able to add to the spark her grandmother once did in her love for Spanish. While Tripp was learning Spanish two years ahead of her, Lynlee was always entranced with the sound of the language.

“When he started Spanish, I would just listen to him speak it and look at his worksheets,” Lynlee said. “Once I got to middle school I took Spanish 1 and in high school Spanish 2, and that really just piqued my interest and love for the language.”

Overall, with Lynlee’s vast experiences and love for differences, she has been inspired by all that she sees in the world. In the end, she hopes to not only let the world impact her, but also impact the world, even in just a small way.

“It’s just really made me see that not everyone is the same, and that doesn’t mean anything,” Lynlee said. “We can all get along together. Babysitting [and Spanish] have opened up my eyes and helped me experience more things that I want to do.”