Jack Rothacker, a third-year student majoring in business administration and Spanish at NC State, is making a significant impact beyond his campus. Recently, Rothacker founded Perseverancia, a non-profit organization with the primary goal of raising $21,000 to support the development of infrastructure and educational resources for the Juan Calvino School in Soyapango, El Salvador.
Rothacker’s journey with Perseverancia began in June when he embarked on a mission trip organized by the Highland Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. During his week-long visit to El Salvador, he stayed with the Reformed Calvinist Church of El Salvador. This experience, combined with a Spanish class he took at the University, exposed him to the stark disparities in resources between South American countries and the United States.
Rothacker expressed his motivation, stating, “The United States wastes so much money on McDonald’s and frivolous expenses when we could easily donate $20 to change a child’s life. The people I met in El Salvador work much harder than us and have far less. We have abundant resources, but it’s a matter of being grateful and giving back.”
During his trip, Rothacker learned about the challenges faced by the Soyapango community. El Salvador has one of the highest incarceration rates globally, stemming from a history of high murder rates primarily attributed to gang violence in 2015. Additionally, the education system in the region only goes up to the sixth grade, leaving children without a clear path for their future education.
In response to these issues, Rothacker, along with the Highland Presbyterian Church and its partner churches, as well as his own organization, is dedicated to improving educational infrastructure in El Salvador. He is driven by the dreams and potential of the local children, who aspire to become professionals like biomedical engineers or graphic designers.
The fundraising goal of Perseverancia includes $16,000 for building materials to construct an additional classroom for the Juan Calvino School and $5,000 for essential educational resources such as projectors, whiteboards, and laptops.
Jada Wyatt, a fifth-year student majoring in business administration, has played a pivotal role in the development of the nonprofit. She believes that Rothacker’s organization is in the process of finding its unique identity, moving beyond its association with the Liceo Juan Calvino School and focusing on uplifting the entire community.
To ensure the success of his mission, Rothacker is committed to building and maintaining relationships with the local community. He recognizes the importance of respecting their culture and experiences, especially coming from a place of privilege.
Perseverancia has received support from various organizations on campus, including the American Marketing Association, Student Legal Services, the Latino fraternity Lambda Theta Phi, and the student organization Students for Immigrant Rights and Equality.
As of now, Rothacker has successfully raised over $3,000 through a grant from his local church, a blood drive, and individual donations. His next fundraising endeavor is a soccer tournament scheduled for October 21. This tournament, featuring fraternities and open to the public, aims to raise an additional $4,000 to further Perseverancia’s mission.
Ultimately, Jack Rothacker’s vision for Perseverancia is to provide opportunities for the deserving children he met in El Salvador, offering them a brighter future through education. He aspires to be a resource and opportunity provider for those in need.