When I was a senior in high school, I wasn't too thrilled with Prom being held in our school cafeteria. Our school didn't have a lot of money, and I guess the organizers thought that with some balloons and streamers, a theme, a photorgrapher and No Light Whatsoever, the dream-seeking student body could be fooled. But there'd be no escaping that distincitve tiled floor, the beams overhead, or that lingering smell of mashed potatoes and Chicken Ring Things which were prepared in that room every day for as long as any of us could remember. Anyway, the sense of the "Special" or "Spectacular" was somehow lost.
Not so for the senior girls at Elie Dubois
School in downtown Port-au-Prince, who celebrated not a Prom but their
Graduation in their cafeteria on July 14.
Some differences that
immediately spring to mind (for me): 1. Their cafeteria is a brand new
building, as exciting and novel for the girls as any "faraway prom destination;" 2. This cafeteria is the first to replace what had fallen after the 2010 earthquake; 3. Better accoustics, and a more airy, light and boyant ambiance in general; 4. Nothing's been cooked there yet - the kitchen's part of the next Phase!
Many of these girls participated in our Interactive Videoconferences
last year, and we're very excited (and a bit saddened) to see them move
on to another phase of life, without us.
Ceremony, reporting by Kate Evarts, Architecture for Humanity Haiti
On July 14, a Catholic mass was held
in the new cafeteria to celebrate the graduation of the class of 2012.
The service included singing, praying and good advice for the graduates.
The room easily held the 250 participants who were delighted to be in
the new building for the first time. Kesler Bien-Aimee, Natalie
Desrosiers and I attended the service with great pride on this day,
special for all of us.
To prepare for the event the workers began
installation of the moveable temporary walls. The room will be used as
three classrooms as well as a big open space. The graduating students
pitched in to move some of the garbage and fallen trees from the garden.
(July 4) Finishing the interiors: painting and partitions
(July 10) Students pitch in to remove debris and trash from the school garden a few days before the ceremony
(July 14) Families come for Mass and 2012 graduation ceremony.
building needs the finish coat of paint and the light fixtures need to
go in. The cistern needs to be installed. The new exterior doors are not
finished (see color scheme options below). Permanet steps still need to be installed along the base of the cafeteria - we will take
advantage of the shady spot and extend the stair area into
a platform with bench seating to create a space for the students to
hang out. AFH would like to participate in the planting of the areas
around the walkway as soon as it finished. The design and detailing of
the walkway will include design discussions with the students.