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APA Haitian Civic Leader Feature: Q&A With Endy Junior Maurice

What motivated you to become a part of the APA movement?

It was APA’s philosophy that greatly motivated me. From the moment I heard that students would have an impact within their communities, I was very interested. I’ve always been against corporal punishment and during APA’s introductory session I heard that APA was against all forms of violence towards children. I thought, wow, I am definitely going to apply because we share the same philosophy.

Now that you have completed your cohort program, what impact or change has APA had on your personal and professional life? What do you see is possible for your future and the future of your community?

Personal Impact: I have become much more of a realist. I don’t complain in any and every situation. I always hold the mindset that despite any problem that could show up that I should (and can) work on finding the solution. I’ve learned the principle of SERE: Solidarity, Excellence, Respect, Engagement. I can’t even begin to share how these core principles have helped me in my personal life. I’ve developed a level of adaptability to where I no longer feel stuck in my life. Even if an obstacle shows up, I always find a way to move forward. 

Professionally: I teach better. I’ve developed a lot of strategies that I use within my classroom. I apply positive discipline techniques in my classroom. This benefits me a lot - I don’t express anger towards the students, the students like me and they feel that they are in a positive environment that supports their learning. They have developed their critical thinking skills, their proactiveness and their creativity. The possibilities I see for my future are to continue developing my skills and continuing to advocate for children so that they can receive a high-quality education.

What stuck out for you during your implication in the APA program. In your opinion, what is the importance of the APA movement?

Students are developing so many skills. For instance, students participate in APA’s graduation ceremony and are given the role of Master of Ceremonies. I notice that the students develop their critical thinking and lots of creativity. There are students that are motivated to the point of taking lots of initiative within their communities, for example to clean up their neighborhoods.

Describe what a good leader is to you?

To me, a good leader is someone who takes action without giving a lot of speeches. They are someone with a great vision and who has the capacity to get others on board to help them accomplish that vision through their positive influence.

Now share with us a little more about the activity you organized:

The problem: Describe the problem that you aimed to address/solve through this activity? What impact did this problem have within your community?

We noticed that students lacked motivation to do their schoolwork. Either they didn’t have books or they simply preferred to play around. We got together to organize this inter-student competition with the goal of motivating them in their learning. We also had plans to open up a community library. The goal was to make books available for students who didn’t have any so that they would be able to come and get their homework done. Good students sometimes lack the motivation and instead will simply play when they are at home, which can make their parents upset. 

How did you plan this activity?

We notified the leaders of the school and planned the activity out with the teachers. The teachers played the role of jury for the activity. 

What makes you most proud of this activity? Did this have a positive impact on the community?

What made me proud was that we were able to reach our goal that we set out - the students worked much harder because of the fact that they were in a competition. The positive impact was that many of the parents registered their children for the following year because they noticed how motivated their children were. They didn’t need to punish them or run after them to get them to do their school work because the students were already motivated to study so that they could win the competition. Thanks to this activity, there will now be a local library within the community that will support students in their learning.

Evaluation - What positive feedback did you receive about the activity? 

Many other schools appreciated this project. Parents were also very happy because the students succeeded. Other students are also requesting that the activity be held again so that they can get a chance to participate. This project also greatly helped the students to better learn their verbs. 

Is there any other information you would like to share with us? (about this project, your experience, advice for others who would like to contribute to community change, other projects you have coming up, etc.)

I would like for every school to participate in a project like this because it is very beneficial. The children are so much more motivated as a result. Because they want to represent their class well so they work hard to win the competition. We are set to inaugurate the local library on June 24, 2022. Let’s continue to teach the children that, yes, though the problems are many, the solutions are very much possible. As they develop this mindset, they will be more focused on seeking solutions instead of stressing themselves with their problems.