Haitian Project photo
Patricia Alexandre at medical school in Haiti.
Haitian Project photo
Patricia Alexandre at medical school in Haiti.

Invite your teenager to read this. It demonstrates that almost anything is possible.

At 12 and wearing braids, Patricia Alexandre left her parents and two sisters in the slums of Port au Prince, Haiti.

She was to attend Louverture Cleary, a tuition-free Catholic secondary school in Haiti for students whose parents cannot afford to pay for their children's education. Patricia was nervous to depart from her family and become a boarder, but also was eager to make them proud. So she worked hard.

Staff and volunteers at the school, which is heavily supported by Portland Catholics, provided her with a top-notch Catholic education that enabled her to maximize her potential and prepared her for success.

“The staff and volunteers at Louverture Cleary taught me that women can do whatever we want if we work for it,” Patricia says. She cites Patrick Moynihan, the U.S. deacon who is head of the school and president of The Haitian Project, the non-profit that supports it. Moynihan tells students the best way to show love is to work hard.

Patricia kept working hard, hard enough that the l’Université de Notre Dame d’Haïti gave her a full scholarship for medical school, where she is now one of the top students.

Education is our best hope. About 94 percent of Louverture Cleary graduates still live in Haiti and more than 70 percent have attended or are enrolled in university.

Louverture Cleary educates leaders to brighten the future of a nation long in poverty. We should all do what we can to help students like Patricia succeed.