During the summer of Gedeon Poukouta-Livit’s junior year of high school, he traveled to his home continent of Africa to participate in service work on the Ivory Coast and in Senegal. He interned with doctors in health clinics and public hospitals, and worked with Trees for the Future to plant trees to help peanut farmers diversify their harvest and soil.
While these experiences cultivated his own interest in medicine and service, they also allowed Poukouta-Livit, whose family is from the Congo and who lived in Senegal for a time, to contribute to the culture of his home country and build up his own story.
“I know regardless I’m going to go back home and do some significant work there as much as I can,” he said.
A member of the class of 2019 at Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, he is the son of Mary-Paule and Prosper Poukouta, and he has two brothers and a sister. The family attends St. Pius X Church in Bowie. Poukouta-Livit plans to attend Yale University in the fall to explore a career path in neuroscience and medicine.
Along with a love for medicine, he has enjoyed his classes in literature, especially AP Spanish literature, one of favorite courses. Because of his heritage, Poukouta-Livit’s first language is French, and Spanish, he said, is very similar.
“Storytelling is a big part of my culture,” he said. “I’m a sucker for stories.”
While at Georgetown Prep, Poukouta-Livit has worked to communicate his story and help others do the same. In literature and English composition classes, he learned to communicate through writing papers. As president of the Black Student Association, he was able to be a voice for the African American community at the school and affect change.
“I found a talent in speaking and getting people to relate to me and my story, and what I see as potential areas for changes,” he said. “And also inspiring people to take pride in their identity. I just thought it was a beautiful thing that my voice could have such power.”
Poukouta-Livit was one of the editor-in-chiefs of The Little Hoya, the school newspaper. He also participated in the Love in Action Leadership Program in which chosen seniors lead Kairos retreats, participate in service events, and serve as spiritual leaders of the student body.
“The Georgetown Prep tradition is to make men for and with others,” Poukouta-Livit said. “But beyond that, what Georgetown Prep really is teaching is a culture of love. It goes back to the Golden Rule.”
Whether his path takes him into medicine, business, service, or any other kind of work, here or in Africa, Poukouta-Livit says his Catholic education has taught him to bring the story and culture of love into whatever he does.
“There’s always that foundation behind me, that I have to do the right thing in terms of carrying out Jesus’ work,” he said. “I’ll always bring that with me.”
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