"I chose to go to IPEPH because they give us a great education and we are all like a family there, they show us love and protection.”
Heberca - IPEPH Class of 2021
In 2005, our secondary school, Institut Paroissial D'Education et de Promotion Humaines, known as IPEPH, was founded in the village of Musac. Starting at grade seven and finishing through high school, IPEPH has between 275-300 students each year. Our campus is equipped with outstanding science laboratories for biology, chemistry and physics, as well as, a computer lab supplied with 20 laptops. The goal is for every graduate of our school to have received a first rate education, be conversant in the languages of the sciences, be computer literate, speak proficient English and have good moral values. In other words, be the kind of individuals who the top employers in Haiti want to hire and who can be the future leaders of their country in all aspect of life. IPEPH is now considered one of the best high schools in all of Haiti, with our students scoring in the top of the South East department on the countrywide exams. Our students come from low income families and 90% of them are the first in their families to graduate from high school, and to date, 100% of those students are the first in their families to graduate from college.
In Haiti, in order for a student to continue their education, they must pass national exams at different grade levels. In 2012, our first group of graduates from IPEPH took the national exam and not only passed but all scored in the top 10% in the country. Funding was secured to provide all 11 of the graduates with college scholarships covering tuition, books and fees and an amount for living expenses that would provide some, but not all, of what was needed for them to attend college in Haiti. The amount was around $3500 USD per student per year, depending on the course of study, which is a small amount compared to college costs in the U.S. They would have to provide the rest of the funds needed from family or work. These 11 students from the rural parish of St. Jean Baptiste were the first members of their families to attend college and now all of them have completed their studies and graduated. We currently have over 100 students who have graduated from IPEPH, been accepted into top universities in Haiti and are attending on scholarship. The students' goals are not just to provide better lives for themselves and their families but to change their country for the better and to use their leadership to improve the lives of the impoverished Haitian people.
"In a country like ours, where most of the people are poor, education is a must. Going to university is important to me because it is the best way to get a better future. Not only for me, but also for my family."
Laurie - IPEPH Class of 2017
In 2015, two graduates of Saint Cecilia Academy in Nashville, TN started a gap year program for U.S. students to take before entering college. The program consists of living in the St. Jean Baptiste parish and teaching conversational English at IPEPH. This version of the program continued for two years, but after seeing its success and the students desire to learn English, we transformed the yearlong program into a new and improved Summer Immersion Program. When the Haitian staff expressed the desire to focus on English all summer, we agreed that the best way to learn a language is through immersion. This program still allows two high school graduates from the U.S. to spend three months in the summer (June-August) teaching conversational English to the IPEPH students. The participants have classes five days a week for four hours each day, learning English from both American teachers and English-speaking Haitian teachers. The curriculum is created by American teachers with the help from a certified ELL teacher, that incorporates the use of technology and uses the National Geographic "Stand Out" textbook. This program allows our students to focus on English all summer long without the distraction of their demanding class schedule.
Our students are learning to be "the future leaders of Haiti" and in 2019 we started our first Leadership Development Program. Partnered with Vanderbilt University's Leadership and Organizational Performance Program, Dr. Susan Douglas and one of her students hosted a two-day leadership intensive for select students in the English Immersion Program. During this intensive, students were taught the foundational concepts of Leadership Development that they continued to explore in depth throughout the summer with their English teachers. In the future, the students will continue to work in teams during the school year to create projects that will better their school and in years to come they will create a project to better their community. This program teaches our students that anyone can be a leader despite societal and cultural norms and gives them the tools on how to become a leader themselves. As the program grows, we plan for all students that attend IPEPH to complete it.
"Learning about leadership can help me a lot, it can help me succeed in my life. When I practice leadership values I can be a role model for others and I can lead other people. If more people learn about leadership, the world can change."
Ritchy - IPEPH Class of 2020
In 2001, we founded our first school, Ecole Saint Therese, a primary school for children ages six through nine in the village of La Voute. The pastor of the St. Jean Baptiste parish told the Cathedral of the Incarnation parishioners about the valley in his parish that had hundreds of children who never went to school. The nearest school was an hour and a half walk up the mountain, a distance too great for the young children to undertake on a daily basis. With no education at all, the children never learned to read or write, their future was destined to be one like their parents - a life as a subsistence farmer living in poverty on the edge of starvation. The pastor said that his dream was to provide a school for these children and the Cathedral parishioners helped him do that through funding the construction of the school. Today, we continue to provide almost all of the operating cost such as, salaries of the teachers and staff, books and materials and a hot meal at lunch every day. The school has between 225-250 students each year, who now have the opportunity to create a future for themselves and break the poverty cycle in their family.