Quality education is a major priority for SUNY Broome Health for Haiti. With generous help from donors, we have worked to support students and staff and enhance educational opportunities in rural Grande Saline. As a result of these efforts over the past several years, the school in Grande Saline has grown considerably and now offers classes for students from kindergarten through ninth grade.
The 2021-2022 school term in Grande Saline included our very first class of ninth-graders. This week those ninth grade students took the official sanctioned exams required of all ninth grade students in Haiti. These national exams are administered by the Haitian Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training. Students must demonstrate proficiency in communication, language, math, science, and social sciences.
The students had to travel over twenty miles to an official testing center to participate in the exams. The exams were administered over three days according to a schedule set by the Ministry of Education. A large rented truck transported the students to the testing center. This was quite different from the school busses we see here in the United States.
The students were accompanied by one of their school cooks (the amazing Daniella!) who brought all the supplies necessary to prepare nutritious meals for the students, including produce and rice that was grown in their own community garden. I am sure it was a comfort for the students to have Daniella’s familiar bright smile to greet them with a hot, delicious meal each day. It is pretty special to be able to travel with your own chef and food!
The students appreciated the support and the opportunity to take the national exams. We were so excited (but not surprised) to hear that our students were complemented by the administrators of the exams.
“One of the exam supervisors congratulated me on the excellence and enthusiasm of our students. I am so proud and happy in this moment. I am thinking about our team and the donors whose investment in our community made this possible.”Pastor Dorcent Berlando, School Principal
After the exam period, the rented truck was used to bring the students home. When the tired students finally arrived home after the long, bumpy journey they found that many people from the community were waiting to greet them and congratulate them on their achievement.
Student participation in these exams was a triumph and a source of great pride for the school, the community, and the Health for Haiti program. Significantly, this was the first time in nearly four decades that ninth grade students from this rural area have taken the national exams. SUNY Broome Health for Haiti is thrilled to be a part of this community’s efforts to give their young people the invaluable gift of a quality education.
Congratulations to the students and staff in Grande Saline and thank you to the entire Health for Haiti team for your support. The next school term is set to begin on September 5, 2022. We hope to continue to partner with this school and look forward to seeing these bright young students go on to do great things!
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”W.B. Yeats