Meet Richard: A Letter from Marie Flore

My friends, 

This time of year, and always, I am grateful for you -- those who make our work possible. Let me share a story about the impact of your support.  

One of the best schools in the Summits network is St. Paul de Morne Thomonde, located on the outskirts of a small farming city. We often bring visitors to St. Paul to show what’s possible: classrooms are filled with skilled, compassionate teachers and students are active participants in the learning process. 

On a recent visit, Principal Alfred Metivier grabbed my arm and introduced me to Richard, one of the school’s brightest pupils. Principal Metivier, who I have known for years, always loves to highlight his students but Richard, he said, was particularly special.

I was immediately struck by Richard’s maturity, he seemed wise beyond his twelve years. He spoke passionately about his love of math, music, and art. Hardship, I thought, often spurs maturity, and I soon learned that Richard had lost both of his parents at a young age. 

While other children mightt have dropped out of school, Richard only charged ahead.

Over the summer, he raised two goats to sell in order to pay for his school fees. With the leftover money, he bought school supplies and a new uniform.  On Saturdays and over holidays, he works at a local mechanic to support himself. Richard understands that his education is the only way to achieve his dreams. His entrepreneurial spirit will be strengthened through education, and his dreams made possible because of supporters like you.

I want to learn how to be a ceramic installer and to be an artist. When you finish with school and you learn how to be something - this is a good life. You won’t live the same way you did before but you can't forget the people who were helping you, fighting alongside you. - Richard, Summits 6th grader

Richard’s unwavering commitment to furthering his education - even amidst great hardship – is a theme I see across our communities in the Central Plateau. Now more than ever, families recognize that pursuing an education is the only pathway out of poverty, and towards a life that is lived, not survived.

We created Summits for students like Richard. Ambitious students that deserve access to an education that nurtures and challenges them in a community where they feel safe. We cannot do this important work without you. 

Please consider making a gift to Summits before the year end to ensure students like Richard have the opportunity to thrive. 

With love in my heart, thank you.

In solidarity, 

Marie Flore Chipps

Co-founder, Summits Education