KONEKTE Princeton Haiti

La Référence de Ganthier

Our Story

La Référence de Ganthier is a secular private school founded in 2012 by a group of impassioned, committed young friends with a vision to provide an excellent level of education to the community of Ganthier. KONEKTE met the founders in 2012 and were impressed by their passion to have an impact on their community through education and by their dedication to making it happen. The school was named ‘La Référence’ to indicate its aspirations to be considered the standard bearer of education in Haiti. It lives up to its name with an excellent level of academics and an engaged student body. We are proud to be partners in this endeavor

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2012  80 students in grades 7th to 9th in crowded rooms. New 7th graders added each year.

2020 400 students in preschool through 12th grade on a beautiful, safe new campus, with high quality academics, art, music, dance, a library, and adult literacy classes available to the community.

Our Work

Provided funding to add classrooms as the school grew from 80 students to 250.  The school was in desperate need of more space to offer an improved learning environment for the students.

Funded the purchase of land and the construction of a new school campus. Worked with the team to find an architect who understood their vision, and a Haitian construction company to do the work. In October 2018 La Référence welcomed students into 6 new and spacious classrooms.Click to read more about the campus construction.

The second phase of this state of the art campus was completed in October 2020 allowing La Référence to now offer preschool and 1st to 6th grade, in addition to 7th to 12th grades, reaching a total of 400 students.

Support extracurricular enrichment with a weekly art class, a music program and a library. These enrichment programs, along with the high level of education, set La Référence de Ganthier apart from other schools in the area

Library program

In Haiti very few schools have books and even fewer have a library. Over the years KONEKTE has donated books that now constitute a fine library. Our objective is to keep enriching the library that will one day be open to the Ganthier community.

La Référence started a program called “ Plateau de Lecture” whereby students who have borrowed a book make a presentation to a group of teachers and students who then ask questions. The aim is to encourage students to borrow books, learn how to summarize a story and introduce them to public speaking. The objective in the years to come is to open these presentations to other schools in the area and start a reading presentation competition. 

Art Classes

KONEKTE funds a weekly art program, envisioned and guided by Madelaine Shellaby, a KONEKTE co-founder and artist. Jocelyn Amazan, along with other teachers share their passion and talent with the students who have made amazing progress in no time.

During these art classes students worked on illustrations for a selection of Haitian  folktales, some of which have now been published in a series of bilingual books. The books are the result of a collaboration with French language students of Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Princeton NJ.  To order books, contact  https://www.educavision.com/ 

Music Program

KONEKTE supports a music program with instrument donations that we bring when we visit.

La Référence is the only school in the area to offer weekly music and instrumental classes. The school now has an orchestra of about 70 students with many more learning to play. The orchestra has become so professional that it plays at local public events, birthdays and funerals in the Ganthier community raising money for the program.

Students

“I love my school because I learn with wonderful teachers in nice classrooms and I have dance and music classes on Saturdays.”

Teachers

“La Référence has high expectations from its students. Students are engaged and as a teacher it’s a joy to work in such a conducive learning environment.”

Campus Construction

From 2016 to 2018, Studio PHH, a young architecture company, worked pro bono with the staff of La Référence to design a school campus that met their vision. Using local materials found in Haiti, the project achieved a design that ensures students will learn in a comfortable and safe environment with beautiful architecture.

A Studio PHH architect said: “The building emerged from carefully studying and combining typical Haitian materials while providing natural light, control sound transmission between classrooms, and security. The undulating roof is painted green to mimic the trees around the school perimeter.”

Studio PHH worked with Eckersley O’Callaghan, an international engineering company also working pro bono, on the sustainable and seismic structural aspects of the building.

The construction was carried out by JSC Construction, a Haiti based construction company, funded by a private group of KONEKTE donors.

In 2019, the new school building was granted a prestigious international award for sustainable design for its outstanding commitment to sustainability and respect for the environment in the structural components of the project’s design.

“This school project not only exemplifies a resistant structural solution, but it does so in close collaboration with local engineers and construction teams,” expressed the judges.

News of the construction was also featured in a Caribbean newspaper.