Grace Emmanuel School marches on amidst the mayhem

Grace Emmanuel School kicked off its 20th school year on Monday, September 18, at its temporary location in Arcahaie.

As is the custom every morning at 8 am sharp, the students and staff started the day together by raising the Haitian flag, singing one verse of the national anthem, and then lifting up praises to God.

It was a beautiful morning of reunions and new beginnings despite low attendance, as rumors circulated again of a potential gang attack in the area.

September 18
September 25

The second week brought much higher attendance, with a total of 271 students in class out of 354 students registered for the year.

“We were very happy because there were many students that we hadn’t seen since the attack in April,” shared Maudeline, GES secretary. “They had traveled far into the countryside after the attack, but chose to return so they could attend school.”

The seniors at Grace Emmanuel School add special bows or other decorations to their uniforms to set them apart from the rest of the secondary students.

Seeing the new class of seniors decked out in their distinct uniforms was also very satisfying, said Maudeline. “Some of these kids have been at our school for a long time and we are very proud of them. We thank God they will have the chance to complete their last year with us.”

Loudenie, 18, is one of those seniors who has attended Grace Emmanuel School since she was 5 years old. She was also one of the handful of students who ignored the rumors and chose to be present on the first day of school.

“I know that if I want to succeed on the official exams, the work begins on the first day,” she said. “I am proud to be a senior and filled with courage and motivation. Every day the teachers teach as if it’s our last lesson. That motivates us more and more.”

Mixed among the many familiar faces this year are over 100 new students, the highest new enrollment at Grace Emmanuel School in over a decade. The new students were accepted to replace over 100 students who have left the area permanently. Most of these new students transferred from schools that did not reopen after April’s attack or are starting school for the very first time in 1st kindergarten.

This year, Grace Emmanuel School will also provide an education to over 50 kids who were enrolled at the school that graciously allowed GES to take over all of its facilities. Rather than make space for separate classrooms, GES agreed to absorb these students into its classrooms, as well as provide lunch for them, in exchange for the use of the buildings.

Given the troubles of last school year, every day together already has felt like a gift not to be taken for granted.

And the sweetest gift of this new school year so far came during the first week, when 7 students came forward and prayed to accept Christ during their morning devotion.

Pray with us for a peaceful 2023-2024 school year, with children able to learn well, grow in faith, and make beautiful memories together.

Kristi Bucher has served as Communications Manager for Jesus in Haiti Ministries since 2014. She currently lives in Minnesota with her husband, Nathan, and two kids. Kristi and Nathan lived in Haiti from 2012–2014.

Maudeline Saint Fleur is the secretary for Grace Emmanuel School. Maudeline began at GES as a kindergarten teacher in 2008, transitioning to secretary in 2014. She is an invaluable member of the GES team, called by God to serve Him in this place. Maudeline lives with her husband and three daughters.