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All in the Family: A Sister School in solidarity
News item date:
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
by Tim Scordato
Former Haitian Alliance Club member and Bishop Ireton student Emily Marquet (front right) helped co-direct A Midsummer Night’s Dream at LCS in November of 2010.
The Butterfly Effect states that a small change can cause a series of chain reactions that could cause large effects somewhere else in that system. For example, if a butterfly flaps its wings in Australia, it could cause 10 inches of snow in Boston. That seems like a bit of an exaggeration, but in the same vein, the exceptional relationship that LCS now shares with its sister school, Bishop Ireton, arose from a sequence of smaller events.
In one of these early interactions, Bishop Ireton High School History teacher Cathy Melanson was inspired by a speech from Sue Williams (THP Board Member at the time) in 2002 and decided to take the first of her many trips to Louverture Cleary School. When she returned to her Catholic high school in Virginia, rooted in the Salesian commitment to education and charity, Cathy triggered another series of reactions which helped form the first Bishop Ireton mission trip to LCS. In 2003, three female students along with BI faculty members Mike McLane, David Scully and Cathy Melanson held a week-long girls’ basketball camp at LCS. The three Bishop Ireton students were so inspired by their interactions with the LCS community that they decided to start what is now called the BI Haitian Alliance Club.
The Club consists of about 50 students whose goal is to further the relationship between Bishop Ireton and Louverture Cleary and to expand the awareness of the needs of LCS through planned activities and fundraisers. Their annual January Winter Ball alone continues to raise significant funds for THP!
In November of 2010, Bishop Ireton made their 8th annual mission trip, and BI ’07 alumna and former Haitian Alliance Club member Emily Marquet helped co-direct A Midsummer Night’s Dream with LCS students. Emily had been to Louverture Cleary before on BI’s 2006 mission trip, and she had this to say about her experiences:
HPN: Emily, what did you learn from your experience at LCS?
What DIDN'T I learn from my experience? I feel like I learned a lifetime's worth in the six short days I was at LCS. Simply by observing the students, I learned so much about collaboration and community- I was always inspired to give 110% every day because everyone around me was devoting that much energy to the task at hand. I learned that joy can be found in every task you undertake.
HPN: How do you continue to support LCS's mission at home?
I bring a little bit of LCS everywhere with me simply by trying to live as generously as I saw people interacting and living when I was there. Additionally, I support LCS's mission by encouraging other people--especially Bishop Ireton students, who are the same age as LCS students, and potential visitors to the school--to change their mindset about poverty.
HPN: How would I describe Haiti and LCS to someone who has never been?
I would describe it as one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s productive and alive, it’s vibrant and youthful and growing. The warmth of the people is unmatched.