“Stratford, for me, is the best,” Edlin St. Vil

Sixth grade student Edlin St. Vil arrived in Macon from the Cambry Orphanage, Les Cayes, Haiti in July. Traveling on a student VISA, St. Vil’s hope is to receive an American education.

St. Vil is living with Mr. Joseph and Dr. Lauren Fried, former Stratford students, who met him  in 2010 while on a medical mission trip to Haiti after the earthquake.

“I fell in love with him instantly — from the moment I stepped foot off of the bus when we arrived,” said Dr. Fried.

The couple decided to help St. Vil further his education by bringing him to the states. A two-year process ensued that included acquiring a passport, finding a school, applying for a VISA, and obtaining various documents for the Haitian government. St. Vil taught himself English and studied to be in the top ten percent of his class at his Haitian school during the wait.

Fluent in French, Haiti’s official language, St. Vil also converses well in English. He started classes at Stratford on Sept. 2.  “He’s learning quickly and getting better each day.

He is friendly, kind, caring, and always [has] a smile,” Ms. Sue Appleby, middle school principal said.

“Everyone wants to be his friend. He’s really nice and really caring,” said fellow 6th grade student, Caroline Sutherland.

St. Vil’s teachers also enjoy his spirit and personality and are impressed with how well he has adapted to his life in Macon.

“He has done better than I would have done in a French-speaking school,” said Mr. Andy Lawson, St. Vil’s history teacher.

And St. Vil appreciates them as well.

“I like my teachers so much, Mr. Lawson, Ms. Massey, and Ms. Sweat,” said St. Vil. “When I came here, I saw that it is different, but I love Stratford,” said St. Vil.

Although he misses his life back in Haiti, he is very excited to have the opportunity to attend the Academy. “Edlin is a part of our family and has been for years. We love him like our son,” said Fried. “He is surrounded by both family and friends who love him and support him every day, and he feels that love.”

Dr. Fried shared that an important part of his happiness is that everyone at Stratford is excited that St. Vil has enrolled here, and he certainly is too. “Stratford, for me, is the best,” St. Vil said.

St. Vil plans to visit Haiti in July 2015.