- July 22, 2015
Dr. David DiGiallorenzo joined a group of 14 Episcopal Academy (EA) students—including his daughter, Stephania—parents and EA staff traveling to Cerca, Haiti recently for the dedication of a new school building and to provide medical screening for the community. With the help of five Upper School students, Dr. DiGiallorenzo provided dental screenings, Dr. Paula Ko conducted eye exams, and Ms. Nancy Adelizzi saw patients of all ages for general wellness checks.
Cerca is located in the mountains of Haiti’s central plateau. There is no electricity or plumbing and water and food are hard to come by. In the morning, women and young girls make the one-mile trek partially down rugged mountain terrain for water. They then carry the water back up the mountain in 5-gallon plastic buckets balanced on their heads. The water supply is polluted.
The relationship between Episcopal Academy and St. Marc’s School in Cerca began three years ago when lower school chaplain Tim Gavin connected with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti’s Priest-in-Charge Pere (Father) Jeannot who serves 17 Episcopal churches and has made education a top priority. According to Gavin, “This partnership allows our students to realize that embracing the needs of others as their own will lead them to a purposeful life.”
The first initiative of the partnership was to construct a new school building for 250 students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. That goal was achieved this past April when the team from EA staff traveled to Cerca for the dedication of the new school building and to provide dental and medical screening.
Now that the school building has been constructed, the next goal is to develop a self-sustaining food program that the community can oversee and manage independently. Installing solar panels to bring electricity to the school and a water purification system are also planned.
Dr. DiGiallorenzo’s daughter, Stephania, said, “You feel it in your heart. I’m really happy we are here to help and give them some kind of hope and help them feel someone is here for them.”