Mike Moore, 23, believes that striving to meet overwhelming challenges is what leads him to become a better person.
The Valparaiso native partnered this year with World Teach to become a volunteer teacher in The Republic of the Marshall Islands, a collection of 24 atolls in the Pacific Ocean, roughly between Hawaii and the Philippines.
“The economy of an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, as one might imagine, has many holes left without patches,” Moore said.
“Jobs can be difficult to come by, and with a soaring population on this little sliver of land, some areas of the island are jam packed with people. Yet the people could not be more welcoming and kind.”
Moore serves as a ninth-grade mathematics and English teacher at the Life Skills Academy in Delap, on the sparse, flat terrain of the Majuro atoll.
“The atolls were formed by the tips of dying volcanoes, with the ring-shaped land being the only indication that a volcano was ever there,” he said.
“Unfortunately, education has been pushed aside throughout many of the students’ lives, and quite a few have fallen through the cracks in the system.”
“Each year, and each day for that matter, is an opportunity to make up a small portion of that lost ground, and at the very least find some level of enjoyment in their education. That, for me, is a priceless opportunity,” he added.
A 2012 Butler University graduate, Moore studied urban affairs and spent a year working with at-risk students in the inner city area of Miami, Fla. When he returns to the U.S. next summer, he plans to pursue graduate studies in development economics.
“Between my work in inner city Miami and witnessing the challenges of development in the Marshall Islands, ranging from education to basic infrastructure, I hope to set out in search of better understanding some of the most pressing concerns of our generation and eventually seeking solutions,” he said.