I had the opportunity to go to Les Bons Samaritains (The Good Samaritan School) in St. Marc, Haiti with nine of my peers over Spring Break. St. Marc is about two hours outside of Port-au-Prince. Our task for the week was to run a camp for the fourth grade students at the school and learn about the Haitian culture. Camp activities consisted of arts and crafts, English, and outdoor games. Camp ran from about 8am to 12pm because of the heat. In Haiti, lunch is the big meal so we were treated to a nice Haitian lunch each afternoon. After lunch, we had down time to rest and then went outside of the school to tour St. Marc and surrounding areas. We also had the opportunity to visit an earthquake refugee housing community, rice mill, and a local high school, James Stine College. Communication was very difficult for us because of the language barrier so we resorted to hand motions, lots of high-fives, thumbs up, and smiles.
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During camp and our tours, we learned a lot about the people and ourselves. One difference between our cultures was the love the kids openly displayed towards us; it was acceptable for the kids to come up to us and hold our hands. Back at home, it’s not often that fourth grade kids openly run to you to hold your hand and touch you. Another difference was the relationships the people in Haiti have with one another. During one of our nightly reflections, we noted the true relationships the people have. Lots of Haitians don’t have cell phones and internet for social media, so the people connect through direct communication. They all showed genuine care and love for one another, something that isn’t always evident in our society. Finally, the people of Haiti are very good at making something out of nothing. At home, if something breaks or we don’t want it, we simply toss it in the trash. In Haiti, they find a use for almost everything and don’t waste the things they have.
Reflecting back on my trip, I truly admire the people of Haiti, especially Dr. Rodrigue Mortel. Dr. Mortel was born and raised in Haiti and has developed into a highly successful cancer doctor in the United States. He created The Mortel Family Charitable Foundation and has built the Les Bons Samaritains school and others. Education is valued highly in Haiti, and because of Dr. Mortel, hundreds of kids in Haiti are able to receive a very high quality education. The students are selected from the poorest neighborhoods in St. Marc and sponsored by supporting families and individuals for $350/year per student.
Many thanks to the individuals who made our trip possible including:
Marc Parisi – Calvert Hall Campus Minister
Rachel Barron – Archdiocese of Baltimore Missions Office
Dr. Rodrigue Mortel – The Mortel Family Charitable Foundation
To learn more about our trip and High Hopes for Haiti visit:
April 15, 2013 10:31
By Evan Zimmer
Calvert Hall College High School had the privilege of hosting Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III on March 15, 2013. Admiral Locklear currently serves as Commander, U.S. Pacific Command. Admiral Locklear has been to nearly every country in the world and currently manages Navy personnel and equipment in the Pacific. His visit wasn’t aimed at recruiting students, rather to discuss current event topics as well as the importance of leadership and good decision making. During his presentation he reminded students, “You are the innovators. The world values men of integrity. The world values men of humility and compassion. The world values men of service.” He then asked students “So, how will you serve your country?”
I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Admiral Locklear for a few minutes after his presentation to discuss his profession, advice for high school students and a debated topic recently brought up in the media:
Q: Why did you choose a career in the Navy?
A: “Well I think the Navy, in the U.S. military, chose me. I was a young 17 year old that was looking for something more than what I saw developing on my plan. I had the opportunity to join the Navy and I knew that it could open up opportunities for me if I chose to take them. Then, once I got in I had really good mentorship that led me towards a leadership position.”
Q: Does faith play a role in your profession?
A: “Of course faith does. I’m a Christian faith and I find it hard to believe that people can actually see all that’s in the world and not believe that there’s a God that created it. It’s just too amazing. So, absolutely, faith plays a big role.”
Q: What is the most rewarding part about your job?
A: “The most rewarding thing is I get to lead hundreds of thousands of people. I get to have a say, in some degree, in the future of this country and I hold that very dear. And certainly I feel a deep responsibility for the safety and security of all Americans. They trust you as military, the American people do - they don’t trust just anybody - they trust us. So making sure we don’t violate that trust is important. "
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Q: What lessons did you learn as a teenager that you carry with you today?
A: “Don’t underestimate your potential. Don’t think that the world has predetermined how good you can be. You determine how good you can be, and to be as good as you can be you have to make sure your integrity is in the right place, that you have a certain amount of humility and compassion for people, and that you choose a life of service rather than someone else serving you.”
Q: If there was one tip you could give to high school students, what would it be?
A: “Make good choices. Think about your choices before you make them, and don’t let others make them for you. I think in high school, even when I was a student, the peer pressure to do things and to make decisions that aren’t going to be in your best interest is very high. Sometimes people make bad decisions and they get through them because they’re lucky, some don’t because they’re unlucky. The best way to do it is to learn how to make good decisions and that means you have to be able to say no to things, to wait on things, to be patient on things, and to seek advice from people who made the mistake before. “
Q: What was your ultimate goal as a high school student?
A: “I’m not quite sure. At the time I was just trying to get through the next week or test or social event and all those things that you do when you’re a high school student. I tended to have a short term view in those years, so my ultimate goal I guess was to graduate high school. And that’s what kind of set me on the path to being in the Navy was that my ultimate goal wasn’t a very good one. But I guess when I look back, I wasn’t very smart, but I was smart enough to recognize that the ultimate goal I set wasn’t working so I had to change it. You can’t be afraid to change your perspective. Most people when they graduate don’t end up doing what they planned on doing. God takes you to different places if you let him take you there, but you can take yourself other places if you want to and he’ll let you.”
Q: Is there anything you learned as an adult that you wish you had learned as a kid?
A: “No, I think there’s a value in going through the process of learning. So to say ‘I wish I had known this when I was 17’, I don’t think I would change anything. I don’t think I would change anything I learned, the way I learned it, or any experience I had, even the bad. When you string them all together it’s what makes your life anyway. It makes it interesting I guess.”
Q: I know global warming was recently said to be on the top of your list of issues…
A: “Yeah, I know…I sort of got misrepresented a little bit. It’s not the most important thing. It certainly doesn’t top things like nuclear weapons in Korea. But for a long range perspective of things that will impact people and their lives, since 80% of seven billion people live within 200 miles of the ocean, you have to think about what’s happening to the weather change. There’s no question. I don’t know what’s causing it – that’s a scientific debate and I’m not a scientist, but it is changing.”
Not only does his advice apply to just kids, it may also apply to adults. What are your thoughts on Admiral Locklear’s comments?
Thank you, Admiral Locklear, from the Calvert Hall students and staff. I would personally like to thank you for taking your time to answer some of my questions after your presentation.
March 18, 2013 01:18
By Evan Zimmer
Last Thursday, Catholics around the world celebrated the feast of All Saints.
As a school community, Calvert Hall gathered to reflect on sainthood and the call for each of us to be holy. As Ben Capone, a senior at Calvert Hall, shared with us at Mass, "The call to holiness begins with us first believing that God could choose us despite our weaknesses and our flaws … that we are that good and that holy that God would choose us to be among this saintly group of people."
As you can see in my photos, we covered the stage in different saints and were challenged by both Father Jerry Francik (Pastor of St. Mark in Fallston and a Calvert Hall alumni) and Ben to consider this call to holiness and to work toward saying yes to God much like so many others before us did.
November 07, 2012 01:50
By Evan Zimmer
How do you respond to a friend’s death? As teenagers most of us don’t know what to do or how to respond because losing someone at a young age isn’t supposed to happen.
This past week the St. Margaret and Calvert Hall communities lost a member and I lost a friend. Jack Levee, or as he liked to spell it “Jak,” passed away July 3 from a bad allergic reaction. I had the pleasure of spending my entire time in elementary and middle school with him at St. Margaret as well as three years at Calvert Hall. Jack was a rising senior at The Hall.
According to his closest friends, Jack was a very caring person and a true friend. Jack was a very upbeat, happy, unique and energetic person. In fact, the only way I can remember him is with a smile on his face. He would always have a joke to share and he’d find something positive in every situation. Another way to describe him is crazy (in a good way!). Whether it be carrying a slurpee into exams or dying his hair “Monster (energy drink) green” he would follow the saying “you only live once.” Jack even closed out the eighth-grade fashion show at St. Margaret’s in his fencing uniform – a sport he was said to be very good at.
During Jack’s struggle, social media played a large role in updates on his condition and a basic location for voicing concern. A common post on Jack’s Facebook page was “praying for you”. A “hashtag” was even created on Twitter (#prayersforJack) by his sister, John Carroll student, Abbey Levee.
A few days before his passing a prayer vigil was held at St. Margaret Church. Father Doug Kenney estimated about 175 were in physical attendance. I say “physical” because a live video stream was hosted by John Carroll student Jon Yantz for those unable to physically attend. The Levee family took advantage of this opportunity by watching and listening to the vigil on a laptop. I was on the way back to Texas from a college visit in Oklahoma so I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend. Thanks to Jon and social media I was able to pray with my peers via a cell phone hundreds of miles away.
So how do you deal with the passing of someone so young? You find strength in your family, friends, school community and of course your faith. We can cherish the relationships we have now and know that even at difficult times we have each other to lean on.
Jack Levee (center in the black shirt) was a friend and classmate of Evan Zimmer. (Evan Zimmer | CR photography intern)
July 09, 2012 08:46
By Evan Zimmer