Recently, we took the opportunity to do a Q&A with Victoria, the new student body president of The Joseph School. Get ready to feel inspired because you can watch her acceptance speech here! You can watch the video version of this interview here, but we have translated it for you to read below!
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO RUN FOR STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT?
I ran for Student President because I would like to change some things at the school. I want to create a program where we can help the student body be more successful. We need more activities like soccer tournaments for the students and teachers or anything additional where we can learn from one another. As President, I would love for us to have a biology lab, chemistry and physics lab and a computer science lab; A place where we can practice from what we learn. As president I wish the school could have a place for us to play sports like tennis, basketball, volleyball, soccer and run track. Sports opportunities could help us have scholarships for university and it really helps us with our stress.
WHAT DOES THE WORD DEMOCRACY MEAN TO YOU?
This means that every single person has the same rights, every single person has a voice and it matters. I am glad we have an opportunity to vote because that shows each voice has been heard. In that voting booth, there’s no one influence you so you just go in there and let them know who you think is best for the job.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF HAITI?
I love my country; This is my homeland. My hope is that my country will change some day. We want stability where can be united as a nation, have security, and then we can have election. I am praying that our future president will be voted in by our people.
WHAT WOULD LIKE TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
I would like to be a nurse. When I see someone hurting, it breaks my heart. I want to be an advocate in my community that takes care of my people and will also prevent them from getting sick. I will absolutely love being a nurse someday.
Helping students develop a student government at school has been a goal for several years. This year, several teachers set this in motion. Teachers formed an election committee and explained to each classroom that they would have a school-wide lesson in the democratic election process. The students proposed a candidate and then voted for a student president for the school year.
First candidates would volunteer or be recommended from each classroom. The students were given a few qualification rules for each candidate.
The student’s qualifications included:
Helpful to teachers
A desire to practice leadership and service to other students.
Someone else that other students look up to
There were 15 students who were nominated. The election committee then chose five candidates who successfully met all the qualifications and ran their campaigns last week. Each student chose a platform promise that they presented to their classmates. One student shared that she would help students learn how to keep the classrooms and school grounds clean, instilling student pride in their school. Another platform was student behavior—helping students be responsible and help each other monitor their behavior toward others with kindness and care.
So, here’s how the program went:
First, students ran their campaigns, sharing what they would do if elected president.
The second was a debate where students asked questions of the candidates.
Finally, Friday was election day, an opportunity for students to vote for who they believe is the best candidate.
Students used a ballot with the names of the 5 candidates. The election committee built in protective guidelines to prevent students from voting multiple times, and only one vote was allowed per ballot. Each student was given a number, and that number was checked off after they voted. The president will next choose a speaker and a communication director, who will all serve for one school year. Watch a video of the students voting, here.
The five candidates were:
Victoria Bourdeau, 6th grade, Winner
Wesley Neozil, 5th grade
Dorly Fils-Aime, 5th grade
Sam (Tchery) Nogaus, 5th grade
Bidjina Ferdinand, 5th grade, Runner Up
The 8th graders decided not to run for office but instead will function as counselors to the newly elected president and team. They will help him or her with difficult decisions, offering creative ideas for implementation.
The six teachers that were involved on the election committee:
Estagonia Senatus Moise
Marc Adriel Gracia
Emmanuel Joseph Dauphin
Read how our student government elections were covered by the news in Caberet, here!
Every year in the weeks before Ash Wednesday, Haiti celebrates its Carnival, a colorful and exuberant occasion. Including music, dancing, food, and costumes, the festival is a significant component of Haiti’s cultural legacy.
As a way to honor Haiti’s national and cultural identities, we recognize the importance of Carnival and incorporate it into our curriculum. The pictures show how TJS teachers and students are still recognizing this tradition even if Haiti is not officially celebrating Carnival this year. Our executive director, Annita D’Amico, says that “Carnival in Haiti is a time for people to unite, celebrate their culture, and show off their creativity via ornate costumes and dancing. We are excited that The Joseph School participates in this celebration of life.”