On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Originally inhabited by Arawak Indians, it was claimed by Christopher Columbus for Spain in 1492. The western part (now known as Haiti) was ceded to France by Spain in 1697. The Dominican Republic, on the eastern part of the island, was formed in 1844. An estimated three million people were affected by the 2010 earthquake where thousands of people tragically lost their lives. The government of Haiti estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged during the earthquake.
The earthquake caused major damage to the city of Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, and other settlements in the region. Notable landmark buildings were significantly damaged or destroyed – including the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly building, the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, and the main jail.
The Ensemble Scolaire Pere Basile Moreau Secondary School was completely destroyed. Since then, the school has been operating in tents, awaiting construction. Due to charitable foundations such as Caribbean Rose. Every year since 2010, Caribbean Rose has held the Virgin Island Billfish Tournament for Haiti. The proceeds from the tournament go to assisting in the rebuilding of the school and its infrastructure. The next Virgin Island Billfish Tournament for Haiti is August 12-13, 2016. This will be the sixth year Caribbean Rose, Inc. and its partners have held this tournament to benefit the school.
Since the devastating earthquake that shook Haiti in January of 2010, Pere Basile Moreau School has started to grow back stronger than ever as an oasis of peace, knowledge, and unity as the country that continues to overcome its struggle. Pere Basile Moreau School is now one of the most stunning, well equipped, high performing, and innovative schools in Haiti.
With over $1 million in support from Caribbean Rose and other non-profit organizations, the Basile Moreau School has been successfully rebuilt. The new facility now serves over 1,200 students from preschool through high school in buildings that have been redesigned and rebuilt to withstand natural disasters that continue to threaten Haiti. The primary school building, which sustained significant structural damage, has been strengthened and reopened to students in January of 2013. Funding from last year’s Annual Virgin Island Billfish tournament helps in supporting the construction of a new computer lab for the primary school building. As previously mentioned, the secondary school building that was destroyed during the earthquake has been rebuilt in accordance with seismic building codes. It proudly displays modern facilities including a nurse's office, a chemistry lab, a computer lab, and a tablet e-library.
As of late, the school has just completed a major beautification project involving the removal of all remaining debris from the earthquake, the installation of a beautiful entryway, and a grassy tree-lined courtyard. The school now also has a grass soccer field and equipment for student use.
The new building and campus present a stark contrast to the surrounding neighborhood. The principal of Basile Moreau, Rev. Rosemond Marcelin, C.S.C., said, “We rebuilt this school to be beautiful and expansive so that the children who come here could see beyond the trash and squalor that they live in and dare to have beautiful and audacious dreams for their lives.”
A special thank you goes out to Captain Eddie Morrison for his constant dedication and hard work. He is currently one of the directors of Caribbean Rose. He has been the captain of the Caribbean Rose's boat the Marlin Prince for the last four years. He will also be the captain for the Marlin Prince during this year’s Sixth Annual Virgin Island Billfish Tournament for Haiti on August 12 - 13, 2016. Mr. Morrison is also involved in the MVP (Marine Vocational Program) for Caribbean Rose.
Basile Moreau’s advanced their mission to serve the poorest children and families in this community. One-third of the students receives major tuition assistance while another third attend the school at no cost. Compelled by the beautiful campus and top quality education, benefactors have stepped forward to fund approximately 100 scholarships for poor families in the community to attend Basile Moreau for the next five years. These Linehan Scholars, named after the primary benefactor, demonstrates academic aptitude, financial need, and commitment to the Basile Moreau community.
All Basile Moreau students are now taking computer classes in one of two fully functional 40-unit computer labs, where they learn everything from basic document creation, typing, to coding. The school library now features a collection of tablets provided in collaboration with the organization Library for All. It’s a digital library system that enables students to have access to thousands of grade level appropriate titles in both French and English while also tracking readership and student engagement.
Working with leaders from the University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), the school leadership worked with experts to design a student health clinic at the school, staffed by a highly qualified nurse and Basile Moreau alumnus. The clinic will be helpful in serving the many students who lack access to regular medical care, eyeglasses, and adequate nutrition. The clinic has already made both life-saving and immediate impacts responding to injuries and illnesses. It continues to provide preventative care through vaccinations, student monitoring, and health education. The nurse is seeing approximately 150 cases a month and has begun classroom instruction of health classes. Holy Cross and Notre Dame Leaders believe this can be a replicable model of school-based health care for schools throughout Haiti.
Basile Moreau has also taken steps to enhance the English curriculum by consulting with faculty from ACE's English as a New Language program at Notre Dame. By doing so, Basile Moreau has not only added English courses in the primary grades but also purchased a new curriculum. Last summer, Basile Moreau hosted more than a dozen Notre Dame Faculty, staff, students, and alumni, including ACE graduates leading English language camps and a medical team to coordinate a health screening of nearly 1,000 students and teachers.
“The transformation of Basile Moreau School is simply breathtaking,” said Rev. Tim Scully, C.S.C., founder of the Alliance for Catholic Education. “From the rubble, a beautiful school has emerged and is now bustling with activity and exciting and innovative programs. Basile Moreau is a beacon of hope and a testament to the power of the Gospel in service to our most vulnerable children.”
Basile Moreau is justly becoming a model school for the country and a center for innovation. It is transforming the lives of its students and leading the way for the future of Haitian education.
To contribute to the Basile Moreau relief effort in Haiti, kindly click here to donate. All donations are tax deductible. It would be greatly appreciated.
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