On Saturday, April 20, 2013, College of Saint Elizabeth (CSE) alumna Anachemy Victor, ’12, is coming back to campus to share her experiences managing the Have Faith Haiti School in Port au Prince, Haiti. She will lead an information session, Finding Beauty in Brokenness, during the CSE DePaul Center for Ministry and Spirituality’s 21st Annual Spirituality Convocation.
For Victor, her job is a dream come true, although it came with a slight, unexpected twist, just a few months after graduating from CSE last May with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics.
“That dream was to educate the less fortunate by opening math and science-based schools in the urban areas of New Jersey,” explains Victor. “Little did I know at the time that the College of Saint Elizabeth would play a vital role in making that dream come to life.”
That unexpected twist happened in September 2011 when best-selling author Mitch Albom came to campus, and Victor told him of her ambitions. Albom was looking for a teacher for a school in Haiti that he sponsors, and a match was made.
Remembers Victor, “After I gave my speech during the Academic Convocation, Mitch’s publicist came and found me in the crowd. He told me Mitch wanted to talk to me about a mission school where he is executive director and president in Haiti. When Mitch and I spoke, he said he enjoyed the speech and wanted my information so we can stay in contact about a possible teaching opportunity in Haiti. Through various emails, phone conferences, text messages and advice/assistance from Carol Pisani, CSE special assistant to the president for mission and values, I flew to Haiti in April and fell in love with the children and the vision Mitch and Cara, the off-site school director, has for the children.”
Today, Victor, who is from Haiti, is back in her native country, running a local school with students in pre-school, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, and primary grades. She brought to her new position plenty of teaching experience. She also was an instructor and teacher’s assistant in Orange, N.J., schools. She received the President's Award from Citizen Schools in Newark, N.J., for service and commitment as a citizen teacher. “The award came with a letter from President Obama himself!” she remembers.
As a CSE student, she has served as a peer tutor in both the CSE Conklin Academic Skills Center and the CSE Educational Opportunity Fund.
Haiti was also just the right place to put all those leadership skills Victor honed at CSE when she served as president of the Student Government Association and class president.
“My job is amazing,” reports Victor. “I thought I was coming down to do one thing and somehow it worked out that I am doing so much more. Originally I was supposed to only teach, but to my surprise, I am running the school, and I am the lead teacher. I help to create the curriculum and to develop various programs for the school and mission. I currently have several employees for whom I am responsible. Overall life after college for me rocks!!!
“The experience is unbelievable and the people I have met words cannot describe. My students are amazing and make my job worth waking up to at 5 a.m. I can definitely say these children are leaving footprints on my heart.”