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Spotlight: Canadian tennis star Genie Bouchard helps Haitian School thrive – Midland Today

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Kersly Rondeau is a fifth grade student at La Ruche school in Haiti. Like many fifth-graders, her day is filled with math, expanding her vocabulary and exploring the natural world through science. At lunch, she enjoys a nutritious snack to help support her learning.
But it wasn’t always like this.
For years, the La Ruche consisted of one wooden building with rooms separated only by blackboards. Despite challenges, students and teachers were determined to succeed.
To help transform La Ruche to provide high-quality education to the children of Haiti, Summit Education, an organization who works with local governments, communities and nonprofits to support higher learning, and its generous supporters stepped in.
One supporter who has been passionate about the Summits Education Project is Canadian tennis professional, Genie Bouchard.
“About two years ago I was trying to find a project outside of tennis to get involved in,” explains Bouchard. “One of my team members had a connection to Haiti and had mentioned an organization called Summits that was working in Haiti. 
Summits supported schools in Haiti’s central plateau and emphasized the importance of early childhood education. After doing some research, I wanted to find a way to support their work. 
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and seemed a worthy place to start. Early childhood education is something that is important to me and I feel every child should be given the right to a good education.”
2021 marks the second year Bouchard has been supporting Summits with the help of Flair Airlines, one of Canada’s leading low-cost airlines.
“With help from Flair, we collectively have been able to pay tuition for all 383 students (kindergarten through 6th grade), cover salaries for all the teachers, buy school materials and provide daily lunches for all the students. We also are making sure the kids get regular medical screening and are healthy.”
Bouchard and Flair have also started working with New Balance footwear to try and help source shoes and clothes for students. 
“Many of the students walk two hours to and from their homes each day to go to school. Making sure they have comfortable shoes is important.”
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Bouchard has not been able to visit La Ruche in person. She plans on making the trip to Haiti once travel becomes safe.
Thanks to Summit Education and supporters like Genie Bouchard and Flair Airlines, La Ruche earned a reputation for academic excellence, with 100% of this year’s sixth grade students passing the national sixth grade exam. The school also strives to ensure students are supported in all areas of life.  
© 2021 MidlandToday.ca

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