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Goretti students pledge to help Haitian sister school

April 01, 2011|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • The Rev. Marc-Edy Dessalines addresses students Friday at St. Maria Goretti High School in Hagerstown. He is a priest who oversees Goretti's adopted sister school in Haiti.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Students at St. Maria Goretti High School in Hagerstown are working to restore laughter to the children of earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

During a Friday assembly, the students pledged to raise $1,000 to buy playground equipment for their adopted sister school in Dessalines, a village in the west central part of the country.

The Rev. Marc-Edy Dessalines, a priest who oversees the St. Maria Goretti school in Haiti, attended the assembly.

Dessalines by coincidence shares the same name of the town in which the school is located.

“We’ve adopted this school,” said Maria Jones, a St. Maria Goretti senior and executive student council president. “It’s really just reaching out and helping less fortunate kids. ... It really makes you see how blessed you are. It really touches the heart.”

Jones told the student body that they will have a chance to donate each day next week to raise money for the playground equipment. She said the goal could be accomplished in five days if each student gives $5.

“We’re a very giving group,” she said. “It hit us hard when we heard about the earthquake.”

On Jan. 12, 2010, a magnitude 7 earthquake shook the Caribbean nation. Some estimates have put the death toll at more than 300,000 people.

Agnes Supernavage, a Haiti outreach project assistant with the Archdiocese of Baltimore, attended Friday’s assembly to translate for Dessalines, who speaks French.

She told the students that their sister school has six classrooms for 425 students. Because malnutrition is common in Haiti, the school is a blessing for some families because the children are given a meal.

“They love their school,” Supernavage said.

Goretti senior Colleen McCauley said she plans to travel to Haiti in July to help Haitian children at a day camp.

“Our goal is to get them to have meals during the day camp,” McCauley said. “They don’t get food during the summer because they’re not in school.”

 Barbara Brower, Goretti’s director of admissions and marketing, said the student body raised about $3,200 for Haiti last year. About $1,000 of that money was given to Goretti’s sister school, she said. The rest was given to an earthquake relief fund.

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