Kaitlyn Guzik's blog

Saints Among Us

  

From Left: Samuel Cangé, Philo (U.S. 13th grade) student delivers a speech on the relevance of philosophy for LCS students preparing to rebuild their country; LCS staff member, Daëlle Edmond conducts an initial interview with a prospective Louverturian.

The feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of students, is traditionally celebrated in Haiti as Philosopher’s Day. In their final year of secondary school, Philo (U.S. 13th grade) students observe the feast day with guest speakers or, like last year, a festival. This year, the students prepared speeches on the relevance of philosophy. Samuel Cangé was one of the speakers:

At our little celebration, I talked about the history of philosophy and of St. Thomas Aquinas -- how he used faith and reason to understand the world. I spoke about how philosophy can make a better world, and a better Haiti. Imagine a country of philosophers… Philosophers are always asking questions, and asking the right questions are the first step in fixing the problems of a nation. With the right answers, we can overcome those issues that hold us back.

This year, the feast day coincided with the start of registration for the Louverture Cleary entrance exam. Over the next two weeks, hundreds of rising Sizyèm (U.S. 7th grade) students from the Port au Prince area will apply to become members of the Louverture Cleary graduating class of 2022. Dean of Academics, Marielle Laprès (LCS ’06) serves on the LCS admissions committee:

As the children go through the application process, we are trying to assess their academic aptitude, as well as their integrity. The questions we ask help us to see if the students are ready to live at Louverture Cleary as brothers and sisters, maintain academic excellence, and embrace the philosophy of the school: “What we receive for free, we must give for free.” (Mt 10:8) 

When the community conveys the gift of education and care, [the students] know that they must also give freely by living well in community, helping any fellow students who are struggling, and sharing what they learn with people in their home communities. They will have to share this philosophy with everyone.


This Valentine's Day, give the gift of an education!
 
Next weekend, we commemorate St. Valentine, who is traditionally celebrated for his defense of marriage under the Roman Emperor Claudius. As Deacon Moynihan has related in past updates, THP also cares about marriage. 
 
Consider observing the holiday by supporting The Haitian Project and Louverture Cleary students and graduates as they bring social and economic stability to their country.
 
To give in honor of a loved one, follow this link to provide their name and contact info. We will notify them of the gift you've given in their honor.



Love and Basketball... and Compost

  

From Left: Rheto (U.S. 12th grade) student, Sebastien St. Fleur drives the ball down the court during Friday's showdown against the alumni; Volunteer Coach Amanda Haluga and Volunteer Asst. Coach Connor Branham pose with the victorious basketball team.

  

From Left: THP President Deacon Patrick Moynihan at work on the compost heap as Dr. Theony Deshommes (LCS '03) sorts metal for recycling; Christina Moynihan teaches "Theology of the Body" to the LCS Twazyèm (10th grade) class.

It was a joyous end to the basketball season last week as the LCS varsity team brought home an exciting and long-awaited victory against an all-star team of LCS alumni. LCS students beat the alumni 20-18 in overtime. Volunteer Coach Amanda Haluga was proud to see just how far the team has come in the past few months of this year:

This season I have seen so much improvement in so many ways among these twelve boys. They have grown in their basketball skills, discipline and their character. I thought the game was fantastic. After our initial defeat by the alumni in December, we came back this time ready to return the favor – and we did. I think every single one of my players had been working so hard to prepare, and our buzzer-beater victory was a testament to how much heart they put into this season.

Deacon Patrick and Christina Moynihan arrived just in time to catch the big win. Deacon Moynihan, THP president and head of LCS, spent the week lending support to the in-country administration and working alongside the Volunteers, staff and students. He commented:

The school looks fabulous and is running very well. I am impressed with my colleagues Esther Paul [Dir. of Operations-Haiti; LCS class of '02], Marjorie Mombrun [LCS Principal; class of '07] and Kaitlyn Guzik [Dir. of Community Development], quite a team."
I also enjoyed reuniting with Dr. Deshommes at the compost pile and with the Volunteers on the basketball court. Now, there was a real positive change from last year -- at 5' 11" I was finally the tallest person on the court.

Christina Moynihan, former LCS Director of Neighborhood Education and Social Services, gave a week-long seminar for the LCS Twazyèm (U.S. 10th grade) students on understanding human sexuality in the context of St. John Paul II's Theology of the Body, as well as the realities of sexually transmitted diseases. It has been five years since Mrs. Moynihan first introduced the curriculum at LCS. The course has become an annual source of metanoia for Louverturians and their communities. Djim Guerrier (LCS '14) recalls:

Since I am Christian, I have always known that men and women were made to live with one partner, but Mrs. Moynihan's class affirmed this belief for me. Deacon Moynihan has also talked to us about how one of Haiti's major issues is men having multiple families – that it disrupts society [economically] when a man has to divide a single paycheck among several families. It keeps them from moving forward.

And I was AMAZED by the information she taught us about sexually transmitted diseases and how monogamy is the only way to be truly safe. Mrs. Moynihan told us we have a responsibility to share this information with others, and so I have talked to other people in my community about it. At first, they thought I was kidding or trying to scare them, but when they realized it was true, they thanked me. My cousin said sincerely, "What you told me has changed my life." People don't think about the danger of the consequences of their actions. I'm so glad I had this class.




A Few Good Vols

  

From left: Amanda Haluga teaches students to make music with the instruments in the LCS Music Club during afternoon Play Hour; Connor Branham tills the rooftop garden with the LCS Garden Club during Netwayaj (afternoon cleanup).

  

From left: Michelle Paquette works with students to sort recyclables at the incinerator during afternoon Netwayaj; Lead Volunteer Kristin Soukup reviews decimals, integers and absolute values in Senkyèm (U.S. 8th grade) algebra.

With a full semester of experience under their belts, the Volunteer team returned from Christmas break the first week in January, stepping right from the truck into the classroom. Second-year Volunteer, Kristin Soukup is this year's Lead Volunteer in addition to helping in the administration as Dean of Students.

The team brings a lot of enthusiasm to all of their various responsibilities in order to best serve the students. All the Volunteers have spent a lot of time preparing and investing in the classes that they teach. Even outside the classroom, where they have different roles – which are sometimes different than what they expected. For example, Michelle leads and organizes the students at the incinerator, Michelle and Amanda help out with the Koukouy program, Connor has taken on leadership of the Garden Club and started a Business Club. And of course Amanda's leadership of the basketball team has allowed her to put her experience to good use. They are all playing their strengths, some they had before, and others they have developed here in service to the LCS community.

-Kristin Soukup, Lead Volunteer

Do you know someone who make a great year-long Volunteer for The Haitian Project?

Maybe someone who would enjoy living for a year in an intentional Catholic community? A recent college graduate willing to share their newly-acquired knowledge with eager students? THP's next application deadline is February 17. Contact Kaitlyn at development@haitianproject.org or download the Teach in Haiti flyer for more information.

 


 

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