Past News & Events
This semester has been all about Haiti. Having read short stories and personal essays written by Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat prior to her visit to Haverford High School this past March, Ms. Ward’s students were eager to learn more and to do more. In connection with Ms. Danticat’s visit, tenth grade students organized a school supply drive to benefit one of the only free secondary schools in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. But it wasn’t enough to be able to send over 100 pounds of new school supplies to students in need. Sophomores wanted to do more. So, over the course of the last few months, students have been researching issues currently facing the people of Haiti.
Tenth grade students have been learning more about Haiti’s need for public education, agricultural support, as well as their need for infrastructure as they face an ongoing battle with the cholera epidemic. Recently, Dr. Steve Larson,Assistant Dean for Global Health Programs and an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvaniamade a visit to Ms. Ward’s class to talk about his experiences in Haiti in the days following the devastating earthquake of 2010. He spoke with students about Haiti’s need for more than just short term financial aid, but their need for long-term systemic changes to help the country grow.
But student interest in Haiti goes beyond writing a research paper. Students were charged with the goal of finding a way to share their research with an audience outside the walls of Ms. Ward’s classroom. And students have met that challenge is some amazing ways. Fifteen students are adapting their research so they can present next week to middle school and Chatham Park elementary students. Seventeen students are working together to sponsor a large bake sale fundraiser on June 6 and 7 to benefit the building of new wells and HIV/AIDS research in Haiti. Another group of young women have put together a baby supply drive to help support orphaned little one’s in a country still suffering under the effects of the earthquake. And this week, students have organized a hand soap drive as a way to raise awareness and support for those suffering under the cholera epidemic. Tenth grade students have used their research to put together displays, websites, social media groups, and write articles for local news sources. Learning about Haiti and her people has gone beyond reading a couple short stories and writing a research paper. Ms. Ward and her students are just now beginning to understand the complicated yet resilient culture of Haiti and her people.