Old Friends, New Friends

Top: Mary and Will Alexander attend Volunteer Tommy Cody’s Twazyèm (U.S. 10th grade) English class; William Schuyler teaches an impromptu English course in the Koukouy Sen Kler (Fireflies of St. Clare) early childhood education program; the Schuyler and Gilges families participate in a painting project. Bottom: William Schuyler and Hannah Gilges attend a Twazyèm (U.S. 10th grade) Spanish class, Hannah Gilges assists Ricky Saint-Fleur in the Koukouy program, Philo (U.S. senior +1) students Maria Felipe Mieses, Jothsaina Pierre, Jean Roudy Abellard and Christelle Jeune get to know William Schuyler and Alex Gilges.

First, let me be clear that the "old" above is meant only in the sense of "prior" friends.  I haven't met anyone as young as Mary and Will Alexander, who are both in their later eighties, in a long time.  Will and Mary, along with Will’s son John and his wife Jane, came to campus yesterday and spent the day in our community.  Will attended college with former Board Member Jack Talbott. 

We were blessed to have two other families join our community this week as well.  Kevin Schuyler, long-time supporter, old personal friend, and former board member, spent the week here with his son William. They were joined by the Gilges family, Kent, Liz and their teenagers Alex, Nick, Oliver, Hannah, and Avery. The families have brought a liveliness to campus that rivals that of our students.

Here are some impressions from both our old and new friends.

“The community is warm and welcoming.  The Volunteers are dedicated servants and strong supporters for both each other and their students.”  Kevin Schuyler

“LCS is a well-oiled machine.”  Liz Gilges

“Everyone seems very committed to the school.  I am impressed with how the students respond to the teachers.”  Mary Celia Alexander

“Wonderful hospitality, lovely school.  I fell in love with the staff and school.” John Alexander

“The students at LCS and I all have similar goals.  We all want to do well in our classes, go to college, and succeed.  Also, we all want to be cheerful.” William Schuyler (14 years old)

“It was fun to play soccer with the kids (in the Koukouy Sen Kler program) and hard for me because they are way better at soccer than I am.”  Avery Gilges (10 years old)

“The teachers don’t waste any time in class and it seems like the students really want to learn. In the US, only one or two students interact in class with the teacher and here, every kid was invested in the lesson and asked a lot of questions.”  Nick Gilges (15 years old)

Speaking of long-time friends, yesterday I saw that we had a donation from Mary Duffy from Lynnwood, WA.  She is a parishioner at the parish in the Archdiocese of Seattle where I was assigned as a deacon over five years ago.  Besides being long-lived, friends of THP are loyal as well.  Thanks, Mary.




LCS students participate in Netwayaj Deyo (Outside Cleanup); Tim Moynihan, Philo (senior +1) student, exhibits a treasure found while sorting and burning trash; Second Year Volunteer, Andy Roznowski works with Sizyèm students to separate valuable rocks from ash.

From scripture and life, we know that wherever our treasure is, there also will be our heart. It is good to be reminded to keep our heart and our treasures in the right places. Looking ahead to Friday and Valentine's Day, I am happy that THP is something you treasure and keep in your hearts.

That said, the child in me still likes to contemplate treasure as just that--treasure. I had the opportunity to revisit the childhood excitement of finding something unexpected when Volunteer Andy Roznowski, who leads our "Netwayaj Deyo" (neighborhood clean-up program) recounted the following story to me.

A team of 18-year-old students sweating and working in the streets always draws attention.  People are curious when they see us sorting waste and burning trash. "What are you doing?" they ask. "Protesting trash!" we say.

Young teenagers seem to be the most intrigued and can sometimes be persuaded to join in the work. The other week a young boy was watching us like a television set. With a little encouragement, he stepped right in. Seeing this neighborhood boy learning from Louverturians and freely participating in work is the epitome of our mission.

Just as we were finishing the day's work, he uncovered a solar garden light beneath a heap of decaying waste. Rewarded for his efforts, he walked home that evening with a treasure in his hand and a light in his heart.

I get excited about LCS like this all the time--because it is a treasure and a light, too.



The Books We Read

Top: Volunteer, Andrew Hyrcza teaches The Hobbit to Rheto (U.S. 12th grade) students; Volunteer, Tommy Cody advises the LCS Book Club; Senkyèm (U.S. 8th grade) students read books of their choice during a library study period. Bottom: Katryèm (U.S. 9th grade) student, Dukenly reads Roald Dahl’s Matilda; Twazyèm (U.S. 10th grade) student reads about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Heroes of America; Rheto student, Edouard reads The Hobbit; Senkyèm student, Wathsherly reads Visa.

I will turn 50 in December. As part of my preparation for this date, I made a series of goals; one for each of 3 years leading up to the actual hill-topping. This year's goal is to read or re-read 50 classics before my birthday.

Travel, nights in hotels and the poor quality of TV in those rooms have given me the opportunity to get a good start. So, with books on my mind, I thought you may be interested in knowing what our students are reading in their various classes.

Senkyèm (U.S. 8th grade): The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Katryèm (U.S. 9th grade): Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Twazyèm (U.S. 10th grade): The Pearl by John Steinbeck
Segond (U.S. 11th grade): Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose
Rheto (U.S. 12th grade): The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Here are some three-sentence book reviews from our avid readers on their favorite books.

Matilda by Roald Dahl: Matilda is about a five year old girl who is very lonely but lives another life with her teacher, Miss Honey. Matilda's parents were dishonest people and had to run away from the police. I like how she makes a better life for herself. –Dukenly Charles, Katryèm (U.S. 9th grade).

Heroes of America: Martin Luther King Junior by Herb Boyd: I think that the book is very interesting because Martin Luther King is my favorite orator. He talked about justice, racism and freedom. Martin Luther King loved his country but hated racism and tried to stop it; he was an extraordinary Christian man. --Edwine Estinfil, Twazyèm (U.S. 10th grade) student.

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien: It is a wonderful book about good and evil. The story is about a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who goes on an adventure with a Wizard and 13 dwarves. They meet many obstacles and strange creatures like goblins and Smaug the dragon along the way; I admire their courage. -- Eduardo Massena, Rheto (U.S. 12th grade) student.

Visa by Emilie Frantz: I like this book because it is an educational book with a lot of life advice. I like to read because in a book I can find a lot of new vocabulary words and good lessons for my future. -- Wathsherly Deschamps, Senkyèm (U.S. 8th grade) student.



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