This year’s Haitian flag-raising event brought a strong sense of pride and love to the students of Malden High School.

“I’ve learned so much about all cultures since I started here 15 years ago. I lived in a very small world before. I grew up in Wakefield; I taught in Wakefield. It’s not terribly diverse, if diverse at all. When I came here, my eyes were opened to many cultures, particularly Haiti,” Principal Chris Mastrangelo expressed.

With the tragic events currently occurring in Haiti, Mastrangelo believes that Haitians are still strong and very proud of their country. “In Haiti, they’ve gone through a lifetime of concerns and issues but yet the sense of pride and love they have for their own country and heritage stays strong. I’m quite envious of it.”

“Having a Haitian Flag Day at MHS means a lot to me, not only does it show pride for our flag but it also shows that we’re supporting and celebrating our flag thousands of miles away from home,” Bradley Louigene, a Haitian student who had attended the Haitian Flag Raising event, said.

After Ewald Charles gave encouraging words in Haitian Creole, everyone began to dance to Haitian music. People were filled with joy and loved to celebrate this day with the other students of Malden High School no matter where they were from.

“Seeing my own people dancing and enjoying themselves during the event made me feel happy, but what made me happier was other nations: Brazilians, Hispanics, Americans, and others enjoying themselves and having a blast,” Louigene said.

Malden High School has a large Haitian population and Mastrangelo believes it is important to celebrate the heritage of all the cultures within the building. “When the students come and look up to see their flag up there, there’s a sense of pride and connection to the country and the school,” Mastrangelo stated.

Charles is very proud of his Haitian heritage. He always attends the events at Malden High School representing Haitian people. “When you sit there as a student from Haiti whose first language is Haitian Creole, and you see a faculty member from your school speaking to you in your native language, I think that shows a level of respect and connection to the school. I think that the students were excited to have him come up and speak and he was
excited too. He was honored,” Mastrangelo explained.

Leisha Fortunat giving her speech. HASET TESFAW.

“Haitian culture is who I am. The food, the people, the environment, and the way of life,” Charles said.

There are many other Haitian students who can relate to Charles and proudly say they feel such a strong connection to their culture. “I spent the first of my 13 years in Haiti and I can tell you that I learned a lot back there. I really wish the country was in a better place to go back home. This country which I call home has a very unique culture, food, dance, carnivals, etc. I will never get tired of talking about the culture of Haiti,” Bradley said, expressing his love for his country.

The Haitian flag being raised. HASET TESFAW.

Haitian Flag Day has always been “like a party; it always breaks out into singing and dancing,” Mastrangelo said. “It’s really a fun and exciting atmosphere. It was exciting
to see the sense of pride that our students from Haiti had but also the sense of respect a lot of our students had for the process as well and for the day.”

“I think that this day is something that the students really value as a part of their culture. To them, it’s a big deal of celebration and recognizing their ancestry, heritage, who they are, and where they come from,” Charles concluded.

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