Someone you should know ...

Albania Mateo Olaverria,
Principal of Centro Educativo Espíritu Santo.

Albania is the youngest of a family of six children. She is eight years younger than her closest sibling and for many years after the death of her father lived alone with her mother.
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The Feliz Family
We met José Feliz when he was20 years old, newly arrived from Ocoa and trying to eke a living out of a small plot of land. Another farmer heard that we were looking for high school graduates willing to become teachers and suggested that we interview him.
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Liliam
Liliam came to our door one day asking for work. Having heard much about Centro Espíritu Santo, she wanted to be part of it. She was so convinced that this was to be her future that she actually moved her family of husband and three boys from Ocoa into the Cruce.
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Iluminada Familia
Iluminada is a tiny woman who speaks softly with the diffidence of one who has no confidence. She came from a very poor barrio outside of Azua with her husband, two children and no resources, only the desire to find medical attention. Her second child, Alfredo, was born with a heart defect.
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Who Came To Help

Sister Renee served as principal of the school until 1999 when she returned to the US. Sister Pat Stringer, a Caldwell Dominican Sister, came to participate in the project and served as principal of the school until 2010.

The wonders that have taken place in El Cruce since those first days in 1992 and up to the present day were shaped by many hands and hearts, beginning with:

RayJon Share Care of Sarnia, Ontario

Chatham High School, Ontario

Chatham Rotary Club, Ontario

Chatham Poverty Awareness, Ontario

Donors

Mr. Bill Haney
construction of six classrooms

Mr. Nereida Duran
donation of land for high school

Ministry Trust Fund of Adrian Dominicans
some salaries

St. Maurice Catholic Parish
Dania Beach, Florida

support for the nutrition program

Dominican Preachers
40 Dominican Sisters and Associates who preach and collect donations for ministries in the D. R.

Medical teams

Flying Dentists of Buffalo

Jesse's Children

The Robertsons

Dr. Prasad

Kathy Armstrong, R.N.

 

 


 

Our Story Continues

collaborating to start a school...four teachers...127 first-graders...no classrooms...

The story that continues is a work of the Holy Spirit. It is based on the collaboration of religious communities, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and friends. This project moved with unusual speed.

First faculty meeting

The Sisters relied on the women’s group who found five high school graduates that lived in the community. Four were willing to go on to the university. The Sisters went to the Secretary of Education to talk about salaries and accreditation. She responded offering total cooperation of the public school system because she “owed her success to the education she received from the Adrian Dominicans.” The four young people began as salaried teachers in training.

Meanwhile, the Jesuit institution, Fe y Alegría, agreed to a relationship that would offer the benefits of fundraising for construction.

 

Opening Day 1994

Opening day 1994

In September 1994 registration opened for first grade only. 127 students from 6 to 16 years of age arrived. Classes were held in the small chapel of the Holy Spirit, under the trees, and on the porch of the chapel.

Breakfast for hungry children

Within a few weeks, the teachers realized that the students didn’t have the energy to study. They were hungry. A nutrition committee organized, raised funds, and promptly started a school breakfast program. It was simple; a pit was dug, firewood collected and oatmeal, farina and eggs prepared daily. The children thrived. One young teacher commented that breakfast should be later because the students had “too much energy.”

The townspeople were so pleased that they voted to donate the baseball field to the school. Another graduate of Adrian Dominican schools, the Secretary of Health, offered to build a nutrition center announcing that he was “prepared for leadership by his Dominican education.” This nutrition center was built on the ball field and used as classrooms the following year.

Each year a new grade is added

First grade on the porch
behind the church

Each year another grade level was added to the school. In 1999 the school went up to sixth grade and had an enrollment of 675. That year Sister Pat Stringer and Sister Pat Mahoney, two Caldwell Dominicans, arrived. Pat Stringer became the principal after Renee returned to the States.

The first class graduated from 8th grade in 2002 with a great celebration.

Classrooms, ball fields, library, and more

Also in 2002 the Secretary of Agriculture facilitated the donation of land to replace the ballfield donated to the school by the community.

Fe y Alegría built twelve classrooms, an administration center and library. The population of the community continued to grow. It was never a problem to find teachers because young people moved into the area in order to be educated and become teachers. The Sisters sought donations from friends and foundations for the education of the teachers and for maintenance and improvements.

In 2003 an early childhood center was opened. The center has the capacity to care for 224 pre-school children. This center also houses a well-baby clinic and a general medical clinic.

A computer laboratory was installed in 2004 with 15 computers paid for by an anonymous donor. The next year the lab was doubled with the donation through Fe y Alegría of thirteen more computers. The energy from the electrical grid was not enough to power this lab. The USAID program, through Peace Corps, set up 12 solar panels with the inverters and batteries to store and convert the power. The lab can now be used all day.

2005: The high school begins

The community began to voice the need for a high school. The sisters ignored this plea for several years. Finally in 2005 they opened enrollment for freshmen. Classes were held in the elementary school. The students were very crowded but did not mind, proud to be the charter class.

Two more Adrian Dominican Sisters, Eneida Santiago and Basilia de la Cruz, came in 2005 to minister in the high school. Their presence has enlivened and enriched the project

A neighbor donated a large piece of land for the high school allowing it to move out of the elementary school campus. In 2006 four high school classrooms were built on this land. Four more were built the following year.

More space is needed

New high school classroom
without windows.

The first graduating class from high school is in 2010. The enrollment has more than tripled. Since 2007 four more classrooms were started but left unfinished for lack of funds. The students have been using these spaces although there are no doors, windows or adequate stairways. The Sisters are seriously concerned about where the large incoming freshman class will study. Your donation can help us complete the construction of the high school.