On October 10, Wilfrid Leconte celebrated his 10th anniversary working at Grace Emmanuel School. He began as an English teacher and then transitioned to administration, now serving as Director of Pedagogy. He is charged with supervising the teachers, checking their lesson plans and making sure they stay on pace with the curriculum.
Leconte shares that when he started at GES, he was surprised at his ability to connect with the students as well as he could. “I wasn’t sure I had that capacity,” he remembers. “But my first students still stay in contact with me.”
He remembers being impressed from the start how JiHM cared for children. He would observe missions teams who came to visit the school. “They took time to share their love and joy with the children,” he said.
This culture of love is one of the many reasons Leconte feels proud of the work that he does. He is always one of the first to arrive at school in the morning and one of the last to go home for the night. His coworkers describe him as steadfast and honorable.
“In 5 more years, I would like to see Grace Emmanuel on the list of all the great schools in the Republic of Haiti,” he said. “That goal is always on my heart, because the school offers children many opportunities to learn and work well.”
Two of Leconte’s own children have benefited from an education at GES—Will Armstrong, an 8th grader, and Barbara Emmah, who graduated last month. Leconte also has a second daughter, Martha, who attends 4th grade at another school. He and his wife have been married since 2003.
Leconte is no stranger to the adversity that many of the students of GES face, having grown up in poverty on the island of La Gonâve. “My family did not have any means,” he shares. “My mom was always struggling badly to take care of her four children. And we all grew up just with her, without a father.” Leconte left the island after he finished 9th grade.
Today the most difficult part of his job are the discipline issues caused by students who come from rough home lives and bring those problems to school. He also works with a lot of students who are old for their grade level and don’t want to submit to school rules. “I always find solutions for both of these issues,” he said confidently, understanding where these kids are coming from. “Things are always resolved.”
When difficult times arise at home and at work, Leconte leans into his faith in Christ to continue on. “Every time these moments happen, I take time alone to reflect… faith allows me to see hope for all children in Haiti. Because with all the turmoil in Haiti, I know I’m here to help the children. Faith allows me to see the light of hope, and that keeps me going.”
Leconte says he relies on the leading of the Holy Spirit daily in his work and cites Psalm 23:4 as being a verse that gives him much motivation. (“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”) This verse has been a special comfort to him as a dad as well. His daughter Barbara was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at age 3 and has had a constant battle to stay healthy over the last 15 years.
Leconte’s hard work and approachable manner has garnered him the respect of the entire school. He has been chosen multiple times to be the godfather of Grace Emmanuel School’s graduating class, an honor given to people who have had an influence in the graduates’ lives.
Over the last decade, Grace Emmanuel School has become a very special place for Leconte—and not just because of the students.
“The way I’ve been able to share friendships with all of the administration and teachers has given me the best memories I could have at GES.”
Thank you, Leconte, for your 10 years of service to Grace Emmanuel School! Take a moment to send a message to encourage Leconte.