Alumni Profile—Keslin Augustin (LCS '16)

Keslin Augustin (LCS ’16) works breaking rocks on the Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 campus.

Keslin Augustin (LCS ’16) works breaking rocks on the Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 campus.

Keslin Augustin grew up in a family that could not afford his education in Cite Soleil, Port-au-Prince’s most impoverished and densely populated neighborhood. As a young boy, Augustin learned about LCS when he overheard people talking about the tuition-free boarding school—exactly what he knew he needed to succeed.

In 2009, Augustin entered LCS and embraced community life, especially the work and language programs. Throughout his seven years, he nurtured his skills and volunteered by translating for foreign doctors at the local medical clinic. Working to be like the student leaders he admired, he led the students as a “Super Monitor” during his Rheto (US 12th grade) year.

Augustin graduated from LCS in 2016 and went on to study political science at Université Quisqueya on a scholarship provided through LCS’s Junior Staff program. LCS Head of School Ernst Viel appreciates working with Augustin for his sense of responsibility and humor. “He always tries to be better,” says Viel, “and he brings joy to any group he is in.”

Augustin also holds a unique role as a resident of the St. Francis and St. Clare House Community, living with US In-Country Staff and Volunteers as well as other Haitian staff and Junior Staff. Augustin reflects, "Living in this house means a lot to me. The fact that we pray together, we eat together, we go to church together, we work together. I feel like I’m surrounded by my family.”

As Augustin continues his studies, he is working toward a bright future for himself and his country—with no shortage of ambition. “During my professional career, I would love to be an ambassador, representing and protecting Haiti’s interests,” he says. “In the long term, I wish to be President, because Haiti needs someone who really cares for it, who really wants change.”

 

September 2019 Newsletter

(From left) LCS Dean of Students Rachel Thelen, LCS Head of School Ernst Viel, THP President Deacon Patrick Moynihan, and LCS Principal Marjorie Mombrun gather in front of the Louverture Cleary School student body on Opening Day, September 16th.

(From left) LCS Dean of Students Rachel Thelen, LCS Head of School Ernst Viel, THP President Deacon Patrick Moynihan, and LCS Principal Marjorie Mombrun gather in front of the Louverture Cleary School student body on Opening Day, September 16th.

The September 2019 edition of Haitian Project News is here! CLICK HERE to read about the special significance of this year’s Philo (US 12th grade + 1) class and much more.

Adding a Bit of Soul on the Feast of St. Francis

Today is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, a 13th century Italian deacon who has inspired the Church through the ages. His radiant spirit, a beacon for those seeking a life of meaning and service, inspired our Pope to take his name.


THP Director of Community Development Christina Moynihan teaches class at LCS.

THP Director of Community Development Christina Moynihan teaches class at LCS.

A Soulful Formation

Last year, Pope Francis made the following comment at a conference for Catholic educators:

We need to give a soul to the global world through an intellectual and moral formation that can support the good things that globalization brings and correct the harmful ones.

Since the early 1980s, The Haitian Project (THP) has been inspired by the Holy Spirit to make education—as well as soulful formation—available to talented and motivated children whose families cannot afford the cost of their children's education.

In addition to serving the students of Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 (LCS), THP has provided education and mentorship to hundreds of other children and adults in Port-au-Prince through its community outreach programs. It was THP Director of Community Development Christina Moynihan who led the movement to share the school’s resources and values with its more vulnerable neighbors not long after she moved to Haiti with her husband, THP President Deacon Patrick Moynihan, and their children in 1996.

The Zone

LCS Santo 5 is located in a quiet neighborhood on a dead-end street. This was conducive to creating relationships with the vwazen (neighbors), and soon the neighbors’ needs became evident.

First, THP began distributing potable water to the zone, the area around the school. Then a tutoring program was established so that Louverturians could share their free education with others–living the school’s motto of Matthew 10:8: What you receive for free, you must give for free.

Next, with the help of two US Volunteers, Christina pioneered a child developmental center in order to help keep families in the zone together. Finally, Kan Dete (summer camp) was created to continue supporting the vwazens and their desire for more education and formation for their little ones.

Mentorship Creates a Bond

Christina takes a personal interest in the well-being of LCS’s neighbors. She has advocated for young children who were not enrolled in school because their families could not afford the cost of their education and helped them secure scholarships to local elementary schools. Thanks to her mentorship and the tutoring provided by LCS’s community outreach programs, some of these students have even been able to attend LCS for their secondary education.

Once they have entered LCS, the neighborhood children's stories are hardly different from those of any Louverturian—they pass Haiti’s national exam, attain university degrees, and work in professional careers where they earn enough to take care of themselves and their families.

And, of course, they are imbued with LCS’s charism of giving back to their community and building Haiti’s brighter future.

With support and mentorship, these young people transcend an extremely disadvantaged situation to a future full of hope and achievement. In turn, they work to build a more peaceful, just, and prosperous country for themselves and their communities, giving a soul to a global world.

LCS Remains Open in Spite of Protests and Instability

In recent days, major news outlets such as the Miami Herald and The New York Times have given more attention to the ongoing instability in Haiti.

While the situation is extremely difficult for our students and colleagues in Haiti, Louverture Cleary School (LCS) has fortunately been able to keep its doors open to provide some stability in an increasingly fragile country.

The statement below was issued today to the LCS community by Patrick Brun, Haitian private sector leader and head of The Haitian Project's partner foundations in Haiti.

As ever, it is your support that makes it possible for us to continue to be the calm in the storm for our students, staff, and faculty.

Demonstrators in the streets of Port-au-Prince. Photo credit: Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters

Demonstrators in the streets of Port-au-Prince. Photo credit: Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters

LC S students sweep the campus today during netwayaj, the school's daily clean up hour.

LC S students sweep the campus today during netwayaj, the school's daily clean up hour.

STATEMENT

Having weathered multiple failures of the government, natural disasters, and extremely difficult economic situations, we are proud that Louverture Cleary School has continuously been an oasis of stability delivering quality education and civic formation based on Catholic Social Teaching and Gospel Values for over three decades.

Every Haitian recognizes that the current situation in Haiti is grave and extremely difficult, especially for the most marginalized.

Every Haitian also knows and values the importance of education. We believe that it is important for the school to continue to operate, if at all possible, in order to continue to support our students, our staff, and our community.

It is important that each student, faculty, and staff member assess their own situation and their ability to safely travel to the school. No undue risk should be taken.

Given our community’s long history of providing support during even the most difficult times, we are extremely appreciative of those who have come since the beginning of the school year and those who continue to come and participate in our continued efforts to provide stability in the country.

We recognize that it is not possible for many of our fellow Catholic schools to operate because of their location. As we did in the aftermath of the earthquake, we offer our assistance and prayers of support to our sister and brother schools in Haiti.

3...2...1... Success!

Thanks to YOU, today The Haitian Project celebrates two milestones: the 32nd Opening Day of Louverture Cleary School AND surpassing our goal in the Countdown to Change Campaign!

Louverture Cleary School opened for its 32nd year of school this morning—on time— even with the current challenges in Haiti. We are proud of the courageous commitment of Haitians, some as young as 11, to make this happen.

While today the banks were closed in Port-au-Prince and the streets impassable for most children to make it to school, our staff, students, and student families represent what Haitians really want: peace, prosperity, and access to education.

LCS students sing the school song—The Louverturian—on the opening day of school.

LCS students sing the school song—The Louverturian—on the opening day of school.

3...2...1... the Countdown to Change Campaign is a great success!

Not only did THP reach our donor goal before the start of the new school year—120 donations in 30 days—we exceeded the goal by over 10 percent! Thank you to everyone who made this happen!

Given the current challenges in Haiti, your prayers and financial support are a tremendous help. Although the Countdown is officially over, it is never too late to support your favorite fundraiser and the transformative power of education! Follow the links below to support their campaigns!

Deacon Patrick Moynihan

Marco Barbesta

Kristin Cordova

Widmarck Dorilas

Edward Drislane

John Fiorenza

Amy Hernon

Bill Leineweber

Pat Newell

Brian Rhodes

Matt Smith

Kristin Soukup

Rachel Thelen

Scott Thompson

Randall Woodard

To keep the energy going, we will be sending a bag of delicious Rebo® Haitian coffee to the 120th donor AND to every 10th donor after we pass that goal—plus one lucky random donor from early in the campaign!

The Results are in: LCS Students are 100 Percent!

Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 just received word from the Haitian Ministry of National Education that 100 percent of the Philo class (U.S. 12th grade +1) of 2019 have passed the Baccalaureate Exam! Congratulations, Class of 2019!

The Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 Philo Class of 2019 achieved a 100 percent pass rate on Haiti's National Exam!

The Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 Philo Class of 2019 achieved a 100 percent pass rate on Haiti's National Exam!

The Katryèm Class of 2019 is 100% Perfect

Each year in Haiti, students in Katryèm (U.S. 9th grade) and Philo (U.S. 12th grade +1) classes are required to take Haiti's National Exam in order to proceed to the next level: from Katryèm (the final year of the fundamental level) to Segond (the first year of secondary level) and from Philo (the final year of the secondary level) to University.

The Haitian Project is proud to announce that 100 percent of this year's Louverture Cleary School Katryèm class has succeeded on the National Exam!

With a historical pass rate now over 99 percent, Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 (LCS) has long held a reputation for excellence in Haiti.

Now we are looking forward to hearing the good news that we know will come from the result of the Philo National Baccalaureate Exam. In the meantime, we celebrate the Katryèm class' perfect result!

Please join us in celebration today by making a donation in honor of each student in the Katryèm class and ensuring that LCS' tradition of success continues for years to come!

The continued success of Louverture Cleary students is an indication that the country of Haiti is in need of more LCS education!

The continued success of Louverture Cleary students is an indication that the country of Haiti is in need of more LCS education!

Want to help keep this success going? Make a gift today in honor of the Katryèm class! Your donation will be a driving force behind more good students, good scores, and good news!

Special Update—New UNESCO Report on Haiti Shows Education in Crisis

In a recent report from its Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO) identified an educational crisis in Haiti. This crisis is due to a lack of access to education and "brain drain"—the expatriation of those who do receive an education—and contributes to issues of rule of law, violence and instability: Providing young people with good education, together with economic opportunities, would go a long way to addressing some of the root causes of violent crime among young people, including gang violence, which is highly prevalent in the country. (Section C.22, June 2019 UNESCO Report on Haiti)

For over three decades, The Haitian Project (THP) has been addressing these issues directly, providing excellent education through Louverture Cleary School (LCS) as well as university scholarships and connection to employment through LCS' Office of External Affairs. As a result, 85 percent of LCS graduates remain in Haiti while 85 percent of the general populace who receive a university degree leave the country. This UNESCO report affirms that our mission of education is the answer. This crisis cannot be met by supporting efforts to give food, water and housing. Educational missions must be more strongly supported, and you can make a difference by making a donation to THP today!

Congratulations to the LCS Class of 2019!

Master of Ceremonies Djim Guerrier (LCS '14) welcomes families, friends, and special guests of the Class of 2019 at Louverture Cleary School's 24th graduation on June 15, 2019.

Master of Ceremonies Djim Guerrier (LCS '14) welcomes families, friends, and special guests of the Class of 2019 at Louverture Cleary School's 24th graduation on June 15, 2019.

The Haitian Project (THP) is proud to announce the 24th consecutive graduation of Louverture Cleary School Santo 5 (LCS)! This past Saturday, June 15, 2019, the LCS Class of 2019 proudly stood as a promise of hope for Haiti's future. They chose the class name Synergy, as it reflects their deep sense of community and the responsibility they feel to take an active role in improving their society.

Four graduates were chosen to speak at graduation representing the four languages of LCS—Kreyòl, French, English and Spanish. This excerpt is from the speech delivered in English by graduate Lovensky Jean-Louis: 

Our decisions are what lead us to achieve our dreams, even when we are afraid, remembering that courage is not the absence of fear. On the contrary, it is trying despite having fear. Only then will we achieve the impossible.

Please join us in congratulating the graduates of the LCS Class of 2019!


It is a recent tradition for the THP community to celebrate each of LCS’ graduating classes with a symbolic gift of $1 in honor of each graduate for the continuation of THP’s mission. Simply include in the donation note that your gift is in honor of the graduates!