Our Volunteers Say ...

This reflection is being written in the Dominican Republic as I visit the Sisters at Centro Fe y Alegría Espíritu Santo, in Sección San José, in the Dominican Republic . This center models committed collaboration at it finest.

In 1993 there was no school in Sección San José. Today 1,543 students-- 220 pre schoolers, 1,100 elementary students, and 220 high schoolers--are receiving a quality education. Students and their families have access to a pharmacy and a medical laboratory, a well-baby clinic, and dispensaries that were non- existent nineteen yuears ago. All this is possible because of the committed collaboraton of the government of the Dominican Republic which provides monthly salaries and text book; Fe Y Alegria, a popular Jesuit education movement that goes “where the asphalt ends” in order to provide quality education and other opportunities to the excluded, and two congregations of women religious--the Dominican Sisters of Adrian and of Caldwell-- who provide personnel , financial, and educational support, and who work towards the empowerment of the local people.

None of the above separate entities alone could create this marvelous health and education ministry. Only together is such a difference being made in the lives of so many here in this small town located in the southern part of the Dominican Republic.

This visit to Sección San José has been a gift from God to allow me to experience first-hand what can be possible for God's people through collaboration. I have been filled with much joy.

Reflection by Sr. Alice Uhl, O.P. , Vicaress of Caldwell Dominican Congregation, February, 2009

News and Info from the Cruce

Leave-Takings

Sister Pat Stringer and Sister Maurine Barzantni announced their leave-taking from the project at the end of the school year. Sister Pat, director since 1999, was elected to leadership to her Caldwell community. Sr. Maurine, co-founder and co-director since 1992, was called to work with children in Kenya.

Farewells

The last parent meeting in May 2010 was a bittersweet event in the community of Sección San José (Cruce de Arroyo Hondo). The parent-school association used this occasion to bid farewell to the co-directors, Sr. Pat and Sr. Maurine. More than 600 people attended the event which included joyous dance, song, and poetry by the students and heartfelt gratitude from the parents. The high school students presented the history of the community in the traditional style of the “salves” of the Dominican Republic. Many tears were shed and well wishes spoken.

On June 12 the faculty of Centro Espíritu Santo held a warm and loving farewell for Pat and Maurine. The program was chaired by Albania Mateo, the new principal of the elementary school, with the lively participation of numerous members of the staff. This was an occasion for the future leadership and staff to voice their commitment to the school, community, and health services. Sisters Maurine and Pat left with the satisfaction of knowing that the work will continue with responsibility and enthusiasm. Both sisters were gifted with a beautiful wall-hanging with photos of the staff.


Albania Mateo with her newborn son, Darlin Enmanuel Soto Mateo

News of Faculty and Staff

 

New Life

Albania Mateo gave birth on September 8 to her third son, Darlin Enmanuel Soto Mateo. Albania is on maternal leave for two months. She left all in good order and ready for the new year. Yobanny Pujols, her sub-director is taking responsibility for the good order of the opening of school.

New studies

Sister Eneida and Sister Basilia, in addition to planning the opening of the scholastic year for Centro Espíritu Santo, also entered into a new semester of university studies. Basilia is finishing her master’s degree in school administration. Eneida is entering into a Master’s program for counseling.


New Leadership

Director of High School

Sister Basilia de la Cruz is the new director of Espíritu Santo High School. She has been on the faculty since its founding in 2006. Before that, she taught in the Cathedral School in San Francisco de Marcoris and in Santa Clara School in the same city.

Coordinators

Because the enrollment of Centro Espíritu Santo is so large, the Department of Education has appointed three coordinators to work with the teachers and principal. Isa has been named coordinator of primary; José as coordinator of junior high: Huascar as coordinator of high school. This will be a great help to the administration as the Secretary of Education is inthe midst of promulgating a whole new plan of education. These three coordinators will be able to assist in the communication of new guidelines, the use of new materials and new methods of evaluation.


Opening of School

School opened with an enrollment of approximately 1,590 students. Three new teachers were welcomed. The high school still is in need of classrooms. The new students are using the four incomplete classrooms, which lack windows, doors, floor tiles and adequate stairways. Other classes are meeting in rooms designated as library, science and computer laboratories or administrative space. It is not a good situation. We hope it is only for a very short time.