We are excited to announce that the DriveSafe Scholarship Competition winner for 2023 is Bailey Perczak Bailey is a first-year medical student at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2022 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience and Behavior and a minor in Patient Advocacy. Originally from Colorado, she grew up in the Broomfield area and attended Peak to Peak Charter School along with her younger siblings. When home from her schooling, she still thoroughly enjoys taking fun drives through the mountains and foothills of Colorado with her siblings and hometown friends. Her newest road-trip sidekick is her husky puppy, Luna, who is also a big fan of the scenic mountain drives!
Bailey is incredibly excited to continue along her medical school journey for the next four years. Throughout her undergraduate career, she had the opportunity to learn all about patient advocacy and the various socioeconomic factors that can affect patients’ health. One of her biggest interests for her medical school career lies in studying healthcare inequities and finding ways to help kids to have better access to the care and resources that they need to live healthy and happy lives!
Bailey explains that due to the strenuous nature of medical schooling, the vast majority of students are unable to work during their four years of education. DriveSafe’s scholarship will help towards costs of tuition, and will allow her a little more breathing room throughout this first year. In her extra time, she hopes to partake in Case Western’s Student Run Health Clinic, which provides free healthcare to individuals in the greater Cleveland community, and to complete research regarding health inequalities.
You can read Bailey’s excellent essay below:
A Driving Connection by Bailey Perczak
The familiar deep thrum of the entry line of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” began to reverberate through the speakers of my old Ford Escape, with my immediate cranking up of the volume being met with knowing glances from my younger siblings in the car.
“Come on,” I teased them, “you all know the drill!”
On cue, my six-year-old brother Max pulled on his sunglasses and began strumming an imaginary bass guitar. My little sister, Miya, extended her water bottle from the passenger’s seat as a makeshift microphone as I crooned out the opening lines. While the music began to crescendo, we made our way to a stoplight. Journey’s voice echoed in an “It goes on and on and on…” pre-chorus and Andrew, the cool middle school representative in the vehicle, began to roll out his drummer impression, pounding on the backpacks and car seats next to him for dramatic effect. Young giggles echoed throughout the car, and everyone continued jamming about as I drove us down the familiar streets for our after-school commute home.
For me, learning to drive meant many things. It was a form of discipline, responsibility, and independence that I took immense pride in, and it brought an emphasis of caution and diligence. It taught me the value and the privilege of transportation; of having the opportunity to begin working after school to help to support my family, and to be able to bring my siblings and myself back and forth to provide my parents with extra time at work. It encapsulated the importance of safety, especially with small children in the car, along with the prudence of conveying that caution and regard for driving to my siblings so that they too would carry those lessons with them as future drivers.
Notably, however, and possibly most memorably, becoming a driver allowed me to have these moments of pure connection with those around me. The privilege of having learned to be a safe driver provided me with many of these after-school music jams, filled with laughter and excitement. It allowed for nights of drive-in movies, starlight gazing in the mountains, and cross-country road trips; it provided a vessel for lunches out with aging grandparents no longer able to drive themselves, for excited errands with a new puppy in the backseat, and for moments of deep chats between friends. Learning to drive brought about a significant amount of independence, duty, and opportunity. But most importantly, as I think back on those moments spent blasting Journey tunes and eeking out “Don’t Stop Believin”, I know that most importantly, learning to drive meant connection.