New Year, Same Dream

Since its conception in 1991, The New Victorian School has faced many challenges. Yet, as our founder and my father, Romel Joseph, always said, “never give up, no matter what!”

For those of you who may not be familiar with the history of the school, allow me to share some of the events that we have overcome over the years.

In September 1991, the night before the grand opening of The Victorian School, thee was a coup d’etat. Of the 12 students registered for classes, 9 relocated to the states. Rather than give up, we started with the 3 remaining students. Over the years, God has blessed the school with continued growth.

Just 9 years later on January 12, 2000, the gingerbread structure that housed the school was completely destroyed by fire. My father spearheaded a week-long marathon to remove the debris and reopen school in the newly built concert structure. It was another test of strength, endurance, and faith. Again, he was true to his words; “never give up, no matter!”

Ten years later on the same date — January 12, 2010, Haiti experienced an earthquake which measured 7.0 on the Richter scale. My father was on his way downstairs when the school collapsed and he was trapped under the rubble. It took over 18 hours to extricate him from the ruins. He was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami where he was hospitalized for nearly 3 months. During that time, he underwent several surgeries to save his legs and his left hand. Upon his recovery, he returned to Haiti and repeated the same process of removing the rubble and rebuilding the school. Again, he was true to his words; “never give up, no matter!”

Before my father passed away in October 2015, he joking said the school was destroyed by fire in 2000, then the earthquake in 2010. That leaves air or water for 2020. Sure enough, in 2020, our lives were drastically changed by COVID-19. Although it did not happen on January 12th, it lasted longer and impacted the school in ways that have been every bit as challenging as the fire and earthquake. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the growing instability with unrest, high rates of inflation, and resurgent gang violence that Haiti has been experiencing since November 2018.

All of this travel back in time brings me to the message I really want to share with you today. Our lives may never return to the “normalcy” we knew before it came into existence. If you do not remember any of the details I have shared with you, please remember my father’s philosophy; “never give up, no matter what!” His perseverance in never giving up has led to over 6,000 students’ lives being changed for the better thanks to the cultural education they can receive at The New Victorian School.

So it is fitting that as this monumental anniversary approaches once again, Romel Joseph’s Wikepedia page has officially been published—meaning his legacy will live on forever on the internet.

2021 will be my year of healing. Take time for yourselves. Recharge your batteries! Listen to my father’s words, it fuels me daily so that I can continue working towards my dream of empowering our youngest generation through education and music, but I can’t do it alone.

Thank you for joining me in One Movement for Haiti and I look forward to progressing the dream with you further this year!

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