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The Student News Site of Loudoun Valley High School

The Viking

The Student News Site of Loudoun Valley High School

The Viking

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As GenAI (or generative artificial intelligence) is continuing to expand to encompass all creative and factual horizons, students today have the world’s knowledge at their fingertips — and then some. We were the guinea pigs for the iPhone, and now our generation are the experimental subjects for artificial intelligence.

Read this debate between Avery Ramsey and Claire O`Connor at the link in our bio!

By Avery Ramsey and Claire O`Connor | Staff Reporters
Photo by Claire O`Connor
...

Which do you prefer?

To watch the full video, click the link in our bio!

By Kenzie Farrey, Kate Miller, and Megan Fennelly
...

HOPE International Trip to the Dominican Republic

Part 2: Passion
All+photos+by+Claire+OConnor
All photos by Claire O’Connor

Passion was abundant on my trip to the Dominican Republic. And when I say abundant, I mean abundant. Passion was in the loan officers from Esperanza. Passion was in the trip leaders. Passion was in the women I surrounded myself with during this trip. But most especially, passion was in the loan receiving associates.

Esperanza and HOPE International would not exist if it weren’t for the immense and deep-set passion of their associates. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with a handful of loan recipients from Esperanza. I was able to visit their businesses, meet their family and ask questions. I was insanely lucky to observe and experience the incredible impact that Esperanza has had on their associates, their businesses and their families.

Esperanza associate, Delfina Ortiz de Paula, enthusiastically explains her experience with Esperanza, Feb. 8

The first associate I visited was Delfina Ortiz de Paula, who owns a clothing store in Santo Domingo. She not only buys clothes to sell — she also designs her own clothing. Delphina was very joyous and excited throughout our entire meeting with her.

Ortiz de Paula mentioned how she is very close with her loan officer, Mercedes, and how she feels like they are family. She doesn’t feel like she is taking out a loan because of her special relationship with her loan officer. 

Ortiz de Paula’s biggest topic of conversation was growth. Over and over and over, she brought up how Esperanza allowed her to grow her business. She mentioned how special it was for her to share the growing experience with her family. Ortiz de Paula isn’t done growing — her goal is to open a new store towards the center of Santo Domingo.

Ortiz de Paula exuded an immense amount of pride and joy in what she’s doing. She so clearly loves her business and is insanely grateful for the help from Esperanza.

Another standout associate I met was Luciano Rudecindo. Rudecindo owns a “colmado” (basically a general store). It has items like food and hygiene supplies. Rudecindo has been with Esperanza since 2016 and has been growing little by little. 

Luciano Rudecindo’s colmado is stocked full of food and other supplies, Feb. 8

Rudecindo mentioned that Esperanza allowed him to build an entire other building to house his business. He said it is much more secure which was a necessity after being robbed twice. Rudecindo stressed the importance of his business because it is the only “colmado” in the community meaning that he has the responsibility of serving the entire community.

Rudecindo brought up the fact that his wife, Negrita, and three of his kids are taking out loans from Esperanza. Esperanza has a clear, extremely important generational impact. They are not only impacting one person when they give a loan — they are impacting generations of people. They are helping to reduce the critical issue of the poverty cycle.

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My visits with Rudecindo and Ortiz de Paula were highlights out of the many associate visits I had because of their enthusiasm surrounding their business, growth and family. Both were full of well deserved pride. Although there was a language barrier, and we were speaking through a translator, the immediate connection we made was incredibly meaningful. There was so much smiling and laughter and love surrounding everyone.

Before I went on this trip, I expected to feel pity for the associates we were going to meet. And to my delightful surprise, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I was ecstatic to realize how much they are thriving and how much dedication they have put in to improve their businesses and lives.

Esperanza is funding their dreams, and they are making it happen.

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