School: then and now
Students line up for a photo outside the new construction on the secondary school building.
From the October 2014 newsletter:
Fall is a time of change and the school at Terre Blanche is no exception. The school opened in 1996 with 65 students. Today there are 950 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.
Osita Tira, a grandmother of five school-age children, remembers life before there was a school and says the school has been a big help in many ways.
Before the school opened, families struggled and children had no shoes. Now, students have uniforms and are no longer barefoot. This area suffers from floods and drought and food is often limited. But students receive a hot meal at school so the children no longer starve.
Osita says the cultural expectation is for her to take responsibility for her grandchildren’s education so it passes to future generations. She donates her time and gives a percentage of the sales of the grain she grows to the church. She connects the school and church. They cannot be separated in her mind.
Her grandchildren are proud of their school and like their teachers.
Micheline has hopes her daughter and three sons will continue their education to become a nurse, a doctor, an agricultural worker and an engineer.
Children in Terre Blanche before there was a school.
Before the school was built in Terre Blanche, the nearest school was in another village called Dubedou. Children had to walk in groups and didn’t start school until they were six or seven years old. Now they may start as early as two years old and remain safe.
Micheline recalls that when children had no school, their time was wasted. When they grew up, they would work but not get enough money for their families. Some would go to the Dominican Republic but they had no skills and could not find work.
Micheline speaks for many as she says the school has made a difference because now their community has a vision and one day the children will have choices for their futures.
Written by Mari Walker, June 2014 team
MORE SCHOOL NEWS
National exams are taken at the end of grades 6, 9, and 12. Those passing may move on to the next grade. Here are the results from this year’s exams at the school in Terre Blanche:
6th Grade — 27 of 30 passed
9th Grade — 35 of 40 passed
12 Grade — The results are still pending for 3 of 4 students.
Congratulations to Abel Joseph (featured in the September 2013 newsletter) who passed his 12th grade exams.
We are so proud of all the students at the school and are celebrating with those who passed their exams and will be moving to the next grade.