The road hasn’t always been easy for junior transfer student Eventz Malaska.
Malaska, who grew up in Haiti, was the fifth child in a family of seven. After the 2010 earthquake that claimed nearly 300,000 lives, his father died, leaving his mother struggling to provide for her children. She was faced with a difficult decision.
“A good friend of hers pointed her in the direction of this orphanage, so she decided to go visit and see what it was like,” Malaska said. “She took me and two of my youngest brothers to meet with the man in charge and she decided it was a safer place for us to be.”
Malaska and his two brothers lived at the orphanage for a little over a year. Then an Oklahoma couple, Alicia and David, traveled to Haiti and got to know Malaska’s two younger brothers.
“It was really sweet because they started talking about adoption,” Malaska explained. “Midway into the process, they found out I was the third brother and the family asked to meet me.”
The family decided to adopt the trio and traveled back to Oklahoma to begin their new life together along with their daughter and son. Malaska was 14 at the time and didn’t know any English.
“It was kind of scary and sad at first to move away,” Malaska said. “But it was a really good experience going from a place where my mom was struggling to provide for us children and then living a better life.”
Malaska describes Alicia and David as “amazing parents.” Coming from Haiti, Malaska didn’t expect to attend high school or college, but his adoptive family has helped him achieve both. He is grateful to be a first-generation college student on his biological family’s side.
“I appreciate everything my parents done for me and my brothers,” he said. “I really love and appreciate them, and I hope they know that.”
Today, Malaska attends Newman University on a soccer scholarship, while his younger brother plays football as a freshman at The University of Utah. His youngest brother is a sophomore in high school and also plays football.
The semester began only three weeks ago, but Malaska already feels at home.
“I had some friends on the women’s soccer team who told me about Newman when I was transferring from Northern Oklahoma College. When I met Coach Victor Domingues, the energy was there with him. He’s really passionate about soccer and someone that I wanted to learn under, so here I am.”
Both soccer and art have always been important outlets for Malaska.
“Whenever I had issues that I didn’t want to talk to my parents about, I would get a soccer ball and juggle around to clear my mind,” he said. “As for art … growing up, I didn’t think I liked art as much because I wasn’t the greatest at it. But in high school, I started drawing and getting into it. To clear my mind, I like to put my headphones on and draw.”
Now he gets to pursue collegiate soccer and an art degree in graphic design. His dream job is to design logos for companies.
Out of all he’s overcome, college is the most rewarding feat.
“It’s been a long journey for all of us, but I’m so happy to be here,” he said. “My college journey is coming to an end, but life goes on and I hope to continue being a great student in school, soccer and a member of my family.”
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