Phillips Academy Faculty and Students Establish Fundraisers to Aid Haiti Relief

As Haiti suffers from the devastating effects of last Tuesday’s earthquake, Phillips Academy students and faculty are making efforts to raise awareness and help the country recovers Chad Green, Director of Community Service, said, “The Community Service Department is taking a two way approach to aid Haitian communities and raise awareness. Not only do we plan to raise funds for Haiti but we also plan to educate the students on Haiti and the severity of this issue.” As of press time, casualties are estimated at approximately 200,000 and have left Haitian communities in devastation and despair. According to Green, the Community Service Department is planning to host a fundraising event to benefit Haiti and may hold an educational awareness seminar to provide students with a general historical and social overview of Haitian culture. Stephanie Curci, Instructor in English, began visiting Haiti in 1978 as a child because her father “did part of his residency in Haiti and has worked there for a little bit every year since 1969.” Curci then did her graduate work on the Haitian Revolution and has worked in Haiti as a translator and grant writer in 1996. Currently, Curci maintains a website, “a visual records project on Haitian history.” “Given the severe effects of the earthquake with casualties nearing 200,000 in Haiti, the faculty must take part in educating the students about this issue to raise more awareness,” Curci said. “Students should also feel free to ask questions about Haiti in class,” she added. On Thursday night, Curci sent an email to the Phillips Academy community informing them of a relief initiative that will occur in Lower Left during lunch and dinner beginning Friday, January 29. Curci also posted information about the Haitian economy, history, art and music been on PAnet for students who wish to learn more about the country. Associate Head of School, Rebecca Sykes, kicked off All-School Meeting on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a moment of silence, reminding the Andover community of the tragedy in Haiti. Sheya Jabouin ’11, whose distant relatives live in Haiti, said, “Although I have never met my distant relatives in Haiti, I was relieved to hear that both of them were safe. The news of the severity of the earthquake and the Haitian communities suffering from the tragic event really hit me emotionally.” In addition to the administration, students have taken initiatives to raise money for Haiti. Last Friday’s first annual student dodge-ball tournament raised approximately 800 dollars, which was directed to the Community Service Department’s Haiti support funds. Cynthia Efinger, Director of Student Activities, said, “The idea to host the event as a fundraiser for Haiti came up from the students. I was very impressed by how much our students wanted to help out Haiti.” According to Green and Efinger, a portion of the profits from the upcoming Blue and Silver Dance and the West Quad North Fashion Show will also be donated for Haitian aid. Microcredit Initiative, a community service organization at Andover, which raises funds to make loans for teenage entrepreneurs in developing countries, has also raised money for Haiti. The club raised over 200 dollars to put towards loans to rebuild small businesses in Haiti selling food during conference period and at the Music Festival, which took place last Saturday. Josh Feng ’10, Microcredit’s Director of Advertising, said, “Usually the funds that we raise go to countries such as Indonesia and Thailand. However, after observing the severe effects that the earthquake caused in Haiti, we really wanted to support the Haitian communities.” Andover students and faculty have also taken the initiative to help earthquake victims in Haiti by texting the Red Cross and other community service organizations and donating online. Tahir Kapoor ’12, who donated to the Red Cross Haiti relief efforts by texting, said, “I realize that the Haitian communities are in need of help and I hope my donation goes to good use.”