elcy-andre_mireille petit-frere_web.jpgWEST PALM BEACH — Veteran educator Elcy Moreau Andre was one of two area residents who were honored as “Pillars of the Haitian American Community” when the Democratic Haitian American Caucus of Florida hosted its recent second annual Haitian Heritage Banquet.

The other honoree was medical doctor Joseph Pierre Paul. They were recognized for their achievements and contributions to the community. 

Andre, a magnet programs recruiter for the School District of Palm Beach County’s Multicultural Education Department, was hired by the school system in 1985 as a teacher for non-English-speaking students at Lake Worth High School. 

At the time, Andre was the first teacher of Haitian descent to be hired by the district.  Since then, she has served in a variety of positions and in all of them she has acted as a bridge by connecting resources in the system and the community to the English language-learning students and families who need them, a school district statement said.

“I feel privileged to have a career where I know I’ve made a positive difference in the lives of students working to build a future for themselves and their families,” Andre said in the statement.

“So often I’m simply a guide, someone who provides information or assures students they can succeed at challenging endeavors,” she said.

Andre and her husband Bernard live in West Palm Beach, where they have raised their four children: Nancy, Bernard Jr., Lionel and Fabrice Marcy. 

The banquet took place at the Caribbean Choice Restaurant in West Palm Beach on May 21 during Haitian Heritage Month observances.

The Haitian Heritage Month essay contest winners were also recently announced.

First and second places went to Jacquelyn Kent and Victor Herrera Ramirez, respectively, both 11th graders at John I. Leonard High School.

Third place went to Irvenie Latortue, a 10th grader at Olympic Heights High School.

According to a school district announcement, Jacquelyn “demonstrated outstanding thinking and writing skills in her composition, excelling in content, originality, grammar, and spelling, according to the judging committee members comprised of district administrators and teachers.”

The essay topic was:  “You have been selected to give a speech at the Port-au Prince stadium in Haiti to all high school students. Your goal is to stress the importance of individual/collective creative initiatives and engagement for the reconstruction of Haïti.  Include how to solve the current problems and then how to lay the foundations of sustainable development. Write your speech to mobilize the youth to be part of the nation building.”

Jacquelyn wrote about how youth can contribute to the reconstruction of Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake and help make a positive difference in the process of the nation rebuilding.  

The winners were recognized during the Palm Beach County School Board meeting on May 18 at the Fulton-Holland Educational Services Center.

Jacquelyn received an award certificate and a check for $250. Victor received a certificate and $150 and Irvenie received a certificate and $100.

The winners were featured at an author talk event organized by the school district, in collaboration with the Palm Beach County Library System, at the Greenacres Branch Library on May 24.

The essay contest was sponsored by Gaskov Clergé Foundation, a nonprofit and philanthropic organization that promotes health and education in Haiti and in the United States.