Sharpening minds and celebrating seniors

On the last Saturday in January, high schools across Haiti treat their seniors to a special day out, filled with philosophical debates, presentations, and fun.

For the 13 seniors at Grace Emmanuel School, this year’s “Philosophy Holiday” proved extra special given the multiplying troubles all around them.

“I’ll remember being together with all my friends in my class and enjoying ourselves,” said Sherly afterward. “Because the situation of the country is difficult, I don’t know if that was the last time we’ll meet. I just will never forget that day.”

Sherly (left), with classmates Loudenie, Renia, and Kerlancia, and Ruth, Grace Emmanuel School’s kindergarten director

Recounting the day

After several hours spent at home preparing their best looks, Sherly and her 12 classmates met at school at 10am on Saturday, January 27. After a short drive, they arrived at the beautiful coastal campus of a nearby mission that was host to the students for their special day.

Grace Emmanuel School director Andris kicked off the day with prayer before inviting the philosophy teacher, Jean Rigaud, forward to lead a discussion on the origin of philosophy.

Though the lecture lasted over two hours, it was Kervensnel’s favorite part of the day. “It was really beautiful, and I learned so much. I will be tested on philosophy to pass the government exams, and I gained understanding on a lot of things.”

Kervensnel was one of the seniors who opted to take part in a fun photo shoot with JiHM’s photographer.

His classmate Kerlancia felt the same. “I learned about what philosophy is, and I heard a phrase that has stayed with me: ‘Philosophy is important in everything you do,'” she shared.

After the discussion, the students shared pieces they had prepared for the day. Some danced, others shared jokes, and some recited poetry.

When the presentations wrapped up, the students enjoyed a delicious meal and then ended the day with a refreshing swim in the pool.

“It was a beautiful day,” said Dieunal, who has attended Grace Emmanuel School since kindergarten. “I could sense that from the moment I got to the school yard. It was one of the most beautiful moments I have had in my senior year and it is a day I will never forget. I enjoyed so much of it: swimming in the pool, taking lots of pictures, and eating good food, too.”

Dieunal (left), with his philosophy teacher and classmates Kervensnel and Woodmaer

The one thing that could have made the day more perfect would have been the presence of 7 more classmates who have left the school in the last couple of years because of the insecurity.

“I really missed Stessie,” shared Loudenie. “She was my best friend but the situation of the country made it so she couldn’t stay in the area. I thought of her a lot during that day.”

Please pray for stability in Haiti so Loudenie and her remaining classmates can finish their senior year. We are so proud of your perseverance, Class of 2024!

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.

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.