Sorrowful, yet rejoicing: Celebrating the senior class despite the difficulties

High school has been anything but carefree for the Class of 2023.

In the fall of 2019, their first year of high school began with two months of closures for political unrest. That spring the world stopped for COVID-19 and their education paused again. Their sophomore and junior years were filled with continued unrest and insecurity.

This fall, as they waited to begin their senior year, gang violence moved right into their villages. Two of the seniors had to permanently leave their homes. Less than half of the students can currently sleep safely in their homes, but must stay with friends and family who live further from the conflict zones.

And yet, the school year has begun, and all but one senior has returned with hopes of completing their high school education this summer. We are so very proud of them, and it was a treat to see them enjoy a special day reserved just for them on Saturday, March 4.

“We could see how the students were excited to relax after all the stress they have gone through,” said Wendy, GES Liaison, who accompanied the class up the coast to Montrouis to a beach resort for the day.

“Some of the students said that they didn’t believe they would get to share this day because of the current situation,” she continued, “but the day happened and put joy in their hearts. It was the first field trip of the school year and an important activity for them.”

To commemorate the special day, the students dressed up in their favorite outfits and shared performances together that they had prepared in advance, like dances, songs, and promenades. Gilkens, the class president, gave a speech on the history of Philosopher’s Day, and brought encouragement for his classmates. Andris, the director of GES, held a conference to discuss sexual harassment and violence.

“The most important part of the day for me was learning lots from Director Andris,” said Joanne, one of the seniors. “I had a beautiful time with friends, laughing and hanging out together.”

The students took many photos to commemorate their special day. It was a day full of happy hearts, shared smiles, and love for one another that no difficult situation could dampen.

Wendy Pierre began working for JiHM in 2019 as the sponsorship assistant. She currently serves as a liaison for the students of Grace Emmanuel School and assists with communications. Wendy lives in Minotrie with her mom, brother, and sister.

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.