Teachers from the Matenwa Community Learning Center Visit MHS

Teachers Roseline Borgella, Ezner Angervil, and Vana Edmond at the MHS library. Photo by Sydney Stumpf.
Teachers Roseline Borgella, Ezner Angervil, and Vana Edmond at the MHS library. Photo by Sydney Stumpf.

Malden High School welcomed three teachers from the Matenwa Community Learning Center (CLC) in Lagonav, Haiti, on Apr. 6, 2016. Matenwa CLC and MHS have a partnership and their coming here positively influenced this partnership between the schools. The teachers who visited were Ezner Angervil, Roseline Borgella, and Vana Edmond.

The reason for their visit was mainly to take inspiration and ideas that Malden’s teachers present and implement them at Matenwa. Matenwa is an untraditional school which offers students extracurricular activities, such as music, art, and even gardening activities that are not traditionally offered in schools in Haiti. Besides extracurricular activities, the absence of physical punishments differentiates Matenwa from other traditional Haitian schools. 

French teacher Paul Degenkolb played a major role in the teachers’ visit. The trip was planned over a few weeks with Degenkolb communicating with the teachers and their liaison in Cambridge as well as with MHS principal Dana Brown. 

Similar to Angervil’s, Borgella’s and Edmond’s goals, Degenkolb’s goals mainly included building a relationship between the visiting teachers and the Haitian-American student population here at MHS. A connection between the schools is important to teachers from each school, and this will help to continue their strong relationship.

Another goal of Degenkolb’s was “to generate pride among Haitian and Haitian-American students, to raise awareness about challenges faced by people living in poverty in a rural community and the amazing achievements they have made despite obstacles.”

A showing of a documentary displaying the achievements of Matenwa and the difference of their schooling system versus other traditional Haitian schooling was shown on Apr. 6, the first day the Matenwa teachers were at the school. Degenkolb was “really happy to see the sense of friendship and sharing between Malden and Matenwa students and teachers.”

On Apr. 7, during period 7, the teachers came into Degenkolb’s French I class and answered questions about the school in Lagonav. They also compared their teaching methods to other schools. Students in the class were engaged and frequently asked questions via a translator and some Haitian students asked them questions in Haitian Creole.

The overall goals of the visit, from both Malden High School teachers and Matenwa teachers were achieved and the Matenwa teachers “really enjoyed [it] and learned a lot [about MHS],” mentioned Degenkolb. 

Related Posts