Looking at her achievements and challenges throughout her life

“Live life confidently. Live life as if you were to die tomorrow” is what Arlette Dervil, a previous medical assistant vocational student who graduated in 2017 from Southeastern and a recent pageant winner, boldly lives by.

Arlette Dervil, originally from Haiti, came to America at 11 years old, enduring a complicated shift from what she defined as a “perfect life” to an unfamiliar custom, language, and habits. A complicated shift that Dervil said had taken a toll on her self-esteem. However, today Dervil knows that this has influenced the woman she is, proudly. She is “more empathic and understanding”. She is motivated when she recalls the sacrifices she and her family made, knowing her fate in Haiti couldn’t be good. To Dervil, this implied “there was no playing around”. Also, her life, as she put it, was boring, giving her the motive to involve herself in fun and challenging things, which she unquestionably did.

As many recognized, Dervil was a heavily involved student, continuously participating in athletics, organizations, class office, and most distinctly, SkillsUSA. Serving as Region 2’s VP during her junior year and State President during her senior year, Dervil discovered how to “speak up” for herself and others as well as overcome challenges. At Southeastern, Dervil participated in cheerleading and lacrosse, and was twice elected as class president. Her experiences in these areas helped shape her confidence and who she is today. As she put it, “My biggest takeaway from Southeastern was the tools and skills that Southeastern provided me with to become…to learn how to be myself and continue to be myself.”

Of course, Dervil’s achievements throughout high school were just the beginning of a life of continued achievement. Today, she is a medical assistant, as she attends MCPHS, majoring in health science. Dervil is on the route to becoming an epidemiologist (studying epidemics, pandemics, outbreaks, etc.). To her, epidemiology had “opened a door full of things that [she] was interested in.”

Dervil’s accomplishments now also include pageantry. Recently, Dervil won Miss East Coast USA and Miss Curly, which celebrated women in STEM with curly hair. These pageants mean something powerful to Dervil. As a young girl, Dervil did not “feel worthy” because of the struggles she faced early as an immigrant. However, these pageants allowed her to celebrate things about herself that she “never thought were beautiful”. With a growing sense in her self-confidence, Dervil also expressed her growing trust in society. She got to experience an environment full of other supportive and talented women. For all of this, Dervil says these pageants are only the beginning.

Digging deeper into Dervil, she gave a simplistic, but keen reply to what she overall desired to accomplish in her life. “Only God knows”, revealing how her attitude had shifted from having “a plan for every small thing” to the opposite.

In her final words, Dervil advised young girls to “Go for it”. Dervil also advised young black girls to “stop trying to live up to other peoples’ expectations” and, most profoundly, “do not conform to society because society needs to conform to us [black girls].”

Arlette Dervil is a young woman, with a captivating story and who has more success to come. An inspiration to young girls who are eager to live their dreams, learning from Dervil how to allow your past and your experiences to be learning opportunities.

The Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical School District consists of a four-year public high school and a post-secondary technical institute. The high school offers 20 career majors to students from Brockton, East Bridgewater, Easton, Foxboro, Mansfield, Norton, Sharon, Stoughton, and West Bridgewater.

Submitted by Darlene Ezeonugo, Nursing Assisting, Brockton


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