St. Louis Post-Dispatch: From Haiti quake survivor to St. Louis high school graduate, the incredible journey of Patrickson Jean

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More than eight years later, it remains difficult for Patrickson Jean to fully grasp the series of events that fundamentally changed his life.

From survivor of a devastating earthquake in Haiti that crushed his leg to honor student at De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis, luck, sheer will and generosity came together to create a future Jean could never have imagined.

“I definitely have a lot of gratitude,” said Jean. “I feel like I’ve been given so much and met some great people. It’s a lot to process.”

During the January 2010 earthquake, which killed at least 200,000 and injured an additional 300,000, Jean’s house collapsed. The 10-year-old boy’s right leg was so badly damaged, doctors told him it would have to be amputated. But an American doctor in Haiti as part of international relief efforts strongly pushed back against the prognosis. As a result, Jean found himself in St. Louis, 1,750 miles from his hometown of Port-au-Prince.