Photo Credit Alex Weidner
Kate Waverka is a freshman Pre-PA major from outside of Philadelphia. In the early morning of Jan. 31, Waverka helped save a neighboring family from their burning home near her current home in Scranton.
Q: Tell me about that night, what happened?
A: “I was coming home, I was just hanging out with friends after the sorority. It was about 1:30 a.m., and I was getting really tired. It’s Friday, you know how it is. I live with my grandparents. I just pulled into the driveway, and I heard people screaming help, and I was actually hesitant to go and help right away because as a young girl, you have to be very careful of things like that, so I actually went in the house, went to the front of the house, and looked out the window and that’s when I saw the flames and the family on the roof. So, at that moment, adrenaline kicks in, and I ran out, called 911, and then proceeded to help the family. We tried to get them off the roof as quick as possible. The father had jumped off the roof, and I actually caught the children off the roof, and then we got them and put them into my house. And then, that’s when finally all the rescue crew came.”
Q: Were you scared at all?
A: “Like I said, adrenaline just kicks in. Half of it’s a blur, your body just goes into power mode and you just go for it. I actually barely had any clothes on; I had a white dress on from the night. The kids did not have clothes on at all, so they were freezing in the snow, so I actually gave my jacket off and the mom was just screaming in pain because she couldn’t feel her feet, she didn’t have shoes on, so I gave my coat and shoes too, so I didn’t have anything on. But like I said, you don’t even feel it. It’s just adrenaline kicks in, and there you go. You just fight.”
Q: You mentioned that you had a funny story about when the news came. What happened?
A: “So the next morning, I didn’t get to bed until about 5 a.m., but I really didn’t get any sleep anyway, cause, you know, the adrenaline is still there. I was wearing a University of Scranton sweatshirt when I walked down the steps to see the whole entire Channel 16 news crew in my living room, and they said “can we get you on video?’ And I said, “Sure, one second.” So I ran upstairs, threw my Marywood sweatshirt on, and then we did it. I had to rep Marywood, of course.”
Q: Are you working with the Red Cross or anything?
A: “Yes. I’ve been in contact. I actually didn’t know who [the mother] was, I didn’t know the family until days after it happened. I couldn’t get in contact with them. I found her through Facebook actually. Thank God for Facebook. So, I asked her permission if she’d be okay if I put up a drive, so I’ve just been doing it on my own, [with] friends here at Marywood and in my hometown as well.”
Q: So, you’re a freshman, you’re in the sorority, you’re Pre-PA, are you enjoying the college experience?
A: “I love it here. I love the small atmosphere, I just think Marywood offers so many opportunities as whole. I love it. I’ve had a great experience my first semester, so I’m still just trying to get the feel of it, but other than that, I love it, and I’m really happy I chose Marywood.”
Q: Tell me about the sorority you’re joining.
A: “I’m joining Zeta Phi Delta, and the reason why I wanted to join was because they’re very service-based, and I love to do service work. So it’s not your typical sorority of what you think of; it’s just service and social. The girls have a wonderful relationship, and I think that’s really important to have as a college student.”
Q: What kinds of service work do you do?
A: “The sorority’s philanthropy is breast cancer, so we do a lot of breast cancer awareness. We do the (Susan G. Komen) walk, and then other than that, they’re open to any type of service. We’re required to do 8-12 hours per semester, so going to the shelters, stuff like that. But actually, we’re hoping now that since this family came into our lives, the freshmen will do a service project with the family.”
Q: What made you choose becoming a pre-PA major?
A: “I’ve always loved the medical field. Even when I was little, I knew something in the medical field was calling me, and I just think that the science is so fascinating. I’m a geek at heart, but I don’t care. I love it.”
Q: Do you know what specialty you’d like to enter as a PA?
A: “I’d love to do ER. I like that adrenaline rush, but I also want to get involved with Doctors Without Borders and travel to third world countries where they need help. [I’d like to] experience it while I’m young.”
Q: What are you looking forward to now in your second semester as a college student?
A: “For me, it’s mainly grades, grades, grades. That’s the PA program for you, but I’m looking forward to making new friendships because the first semester, you’re kind of just really getting a taste of college. So now you’re really into the swing of things, so I’m hoping I can get involved in more things, meet new people, and enjoy the college life more than just sit[ting] home and studying.”
Q: Looking long-term, when you get your diploma, what do you hope to take away from Marywood?
A: “Friendships and just well-roundedness. I think Marywood offers that by making this a liberal arts school, so I’ve actually developed interests in so many other things because of that. I’m just hoping that I come out knowing I can do anything I put my mind to.”
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