Staff Feature

Meet Wilson Dorsica

The Joseph School staff first met Wilson when he was only fifteen. When asked about where he went to school he shared that he’d never been to school. His family could not simply afford it. His mother had died when he was young and his father was 80, and not well enough to take care of him and his family. Wilson then took on the responsibility of taking care of his father, sister, and brother from a young age. 

 Daily life was a struggle for Wilson like many children and teens growing up in Haiti. Children have little time to just be children; There is work to do no matter their age. They have jobs to do each day just to survive, leaving no time for school, and little money to pay for daily food. More than a half million children and teens in Haiti are out of school for a multitude of reasons. Like Wilson, some are without parents or without healthy parents, educational costs are too expensive, no transportation to schools, and gang violence.

 Wilson was invited by our staff to come help with some of the clean-up tasks after a soccer game. He began to come to The Joseph School after that day offering to help out with whatever he could. He did this without asking for any payment. If he saw the staff cleaning, he joined in. If he saw a dirty TJS vehicle, he would wash it. If our TJS’ repairman, Wilkens, was fixing something, Wilson watched carefully, learning what to do and then offering his help.

 At that time TJS was only an elementary school and Wilson was beyond the age to attend. With his help, a job description was created for him to start employment at the school.  He became our repairman’s assistant. His role with The Joseph School encouraged him to enroll in a trade school to become a licensed plumber. He used some of his salary to pay for school while working part-time. Wilson arrives early to our TJS campus, cleaning and checking every classroom before heading to his school. After his own classes, he returned to TJS and completed any school maintenance. 

 Wilson is intelligent, resourceful, and resilient. He just needed an opportunity. A simple job and further education provided that. Wilson shared he had to step out in faith when he enrolled in the trade school. He needed to believe that he could succeed. Before he started the program, he went to a printer and printed his own business cards. This helped him believe that he could persevere through challenging times and complete his training.

 Wilson is now a trade school graduate and continues to work for TJS.  His story is an example of the leadership ripple effect TJS is having in Haiti. When Wilson is asked, “What makes you most proud to be a part of TJS?” He responds: “First, I have learned how to give to others by being a part of something great for this nation. Second, it helps me get closer to God. With my salary I have been able to pay for my trade school as well as help my aging father, sister, and brother.”

 At TJS, we not only reach out to our students but also to those around us. TJS provides Wilson and those like him an opportunity to give back; growing new leaders for the nation of Haiti.

 


Beyond The Books: What’s Being Taught in Our TJS Classrooms

Did you know- The curriculum at The Joseph School (TJS) is custom developed to meet the needs of TJS students! By creating a custom curriculum, TJS has the ability to focus on subjects and lessons that may not be present in a typical Haitian classroom. Our Culturally Committed Curriculum directly aligns with our mission of preparing the next generation of student leaders in Haiti.

Language

For instance, The Joseph School places a specific focus on language development with the goal of preparing every TJS graduate to compete in a global marketplace. TJS students study three languages during their primary school years (1st through 6th grade): Creole, French, and English. A fourth language, Spanish, is added in 7th grade. This gives students opportunities to see how communication is affected by words and language semantics.

Social and Emotional Skills

The Joseph School’s custom curriculum allows learning to go beyond math, science, and other academic subjects. TJS teachers understand the critical role of social and emotional learning for the students and how these skills promote student success. Social emotional skills help students develop ways to express themselves which promote kindness, sharing, problem solving, and empathy for others. 

A focus on these skills helps develop academic excellence and build students’ confidence in their ability to become transformational leaders for their generation. Skills are practiced through coordinated classroom, school-wide, family, and community practices. Four key skills are focused on:

Personal awareness and management of emotions, values and stressors

Social awareness of others’ needs

Relationship skills and problem solving

Responsible decision making

Life Skills

TJS teachers are passionate about helping students learn and negotiate these current challenges, and our custom curriculum supports their efforts. This learning involves an understanding that each student has life skill needs. The Joseph School teaches communication in multiple ways and makes sure each student has a way to express themselves. In our curriculum, we cover verbal, non-verbal, written communication, and listening. The Joseph School believes it is important to be able to express opinions in a way that works best for each individual student. We also believe that active listening skills are essential for strong leadership. TJS teaches the students not just to listen, but to comprehend, ask questions and respond accordingly.

Leadership Development

The Joseph School’s goal is to create generational transforming leaders. This includes teaching them to have high standards for themselves and to set an example for others to follow. Students at The Joseph School attended classes in civics and theology, which provide a foundation for how to treat others with respect and kindness, being honest and trustworthy, and taking responsibility for their actions

Education is an important part of any child’s development, however, at The Joseph School it is even more critical. Haiti is in a season of tremendous challenges economically, politically, and socially. TJS understands that social emotional skills are extremely important not only to the health and wellbeing of each individual, but to developing strong, caring leaders. This is crucial knowledge as our students learn how to have hope for their futures and build creative ways to negotiate possible solutions in these stressful times.

Now more than ever, it is clear that “Haiti does not have an education problem. Haiti has a leadership problem.” Thanks to the generous support of donors across the globe, The Joseph School is working to do more than just educate the next generation of Haitian leaders. The Joseph School is committed to developing informed and passionate leaders of Haiti.


Happy Harvesting

In the spring of 2020 The Joseph School expanded the size of its garden, adding more types of vegetables, focusing on the orchard, and testing the soil. Now, over a year later, our garden has provided many valuable experiences for our students and staff.

TJS Students Helping in the Campus Garden.

The garden began as an educational tool for our students. Gardening is a useful skill that teaches our students responsibility, decision making, team work, and how to use and care for their natural resources. Through their experience with the TJS garden, our students will know and understand the steps to create at-home gardens.

Beyond the educational benefits, gardening and producing our own food is financially advantageous. Our garden can provide hunger relief and necessary nutrients for our school of over 200 students and a team of 60. Using the harvests from the garden promotes health and wellness by supplying our students with fresh, natural and unprocessed foods. Nutrition has always been a part of the student sponsorship program at The Joseph School. Now that the garden has continued to grow, we are so excited for our students to reap the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily meals. 

 

Additionally, the garden has already started to alleviate some of the costs associated with providing meals for the school; and we are excited by the prospect of growing our crop to not only provide for our school, but the surrounding community as well.

During Summer 2021, we saw our first community garden event with the harvest of over 900 watermelons! TJS students, their families and members of our local community all came to campus to help harvest the watermelons and partake in a massive melon feast. We feel incredibly humbled and blessed that the garden has given our students the opportunity to see firsthand how their hard work can help not only themselves but those around them.

Watermelon Day 2021 at The Joseph School.

Furthermore, our garden is helping our team develop a seed library, for our specific terrain. The past year has allowed us to test various seeds and determine which can be harvested and replanted this year and for years to come. Our most successful crops have been coconuts, plantains and bananas, corn, cucumber, watermelon, beans and sweet potatoes.

Gardening is a great tool to teach our students hard-work, dedication and resourcefulness. We feel so blessed for the generosity of our donors who made this project possible. Be sure to check out our social media pages to catch updates and more photos from our garden.

If you would like to support the garden project at The Joseph School, please donate here.

(From left to right) Fritzlande, Samella and Witchy helping in the TJS garden.