La Salle students show their solidarity with Haiti

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PROVIDENCE — At La Salle Academy students and staff observed Haiti Solidarity Week to mark the third anniversary of the earthquake.

The observance was the initiative of the Lasallian Brothers of the Eastern District of North America. In a direct response to the educational needs that emerged following the 2010 earthquake the Brothers of the District of Antilles/South Mexico led a drive to create the St. John de La Salle School in Port-au-Prince.

At La Salle Academy, a bulletin board with a large Haitian flag and a photo of the recently completed school greeted students passing in the hallway outside the cafeteria. Each morning, a prayer was read over the intercom calling to mind all the work that remains to be done in Haiti.

Sophomore Idylla Louis was born in Haiti, but moved to America at the age of 4 so her brother could receive medical treatment for a blood disorder.

Marking the anniversary brought her back to that terrible day three years ago when she learned that two of uncles and a cousin remaining in Haiti had been killed in the disaster.

She said that her father, a former bank manager in Haiti who now teaches in Massachusetts, was pleased with the Lasallian Brothers’ efforts to help the people of their homeland by constructing the new school, and for La Salle Academy’s observance of Haiti Solidarity Week.

“He was really surprised and very appreciative of all the efforts,” Louis said of her father.

Ashley Augustin, a junior, has two aunts living in their native Haiti who serve as religious sisters.

The earthquake completely destroyed their convent in the town of Jeremie, on the southwest peninsula of the country, but it has since been rebuilt.

“Things are OK there. They are building up with the help of the U.S.,” she said.