10th Anniversary – Scholar Ruchama’s Speech

Following are the remarks delivered by Le Flambeau Foundation Scholar Ruchama at the Le Flambeau Foundation 10th Anniversary Awards Celebration, held on October 26th, 2017; at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Gleacher Center, in Chicago Illinois.

DSC_9260Good evening,

It is a great privilege to be at the University of Chicago to celebrate the Le Flambeau Foundation’s 10th anniversary – the place where the torch for its mission was first lit. I am so honored to share my remarks as my life is positively touched by the Le Flambeau Foundation’s mission.

Growing up in a loving and caring family in Haiti; my dreams were to become an orthopedic surgeon and a violinist when I grow up. However, a quick reversal happened after my father retired. Therefore, the dream of joining the medical field had become blurry and questionable. A very sad and disappointing period. As time passed by, I found my big interest and niche in accounting but couldn’t afford the four years the degree would require.

Graciously and miraculously, a family’s friend blessed and encouraged me to join a one-year school program, for which the academic year was paid in full. In an article found at the school, it mentioned a student was awarded a scholarship to study in the United States two years prior. Knowing that, I asked God for a miracle, for just another scholarship to be awarded. Since then, I studied harder and had the steady faith that something extraordinary will come out of it. I was convinced that no students in the class or in the entire school would or could take the opportunity away from me, if a miracle had to happen again.

DSC_9233And… miracles happened! Le Flambeau Foundation is a miracle and an answered prayer. Since 2009, the year we met, my life has changed. I am thankful for being a member of THE SPARK of Le Flambeau from its inception. I was incredibly blessed to be awarded the earthquake scholarship for the Spring semester of 2011 and miraculously made it back for a four-year program in 2012. During the four-year program, things were not always easy. There were very tough times, but I decided to be resilient because I believed this education is one of the greatest gifts and its outcome would outweigh the hindrances. Today, I am very fortunate to have a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a minor in Music from College of the Ozarks, completed 150 credits in four years.

As I am closing tonight, I am grateful for the Le Flambeau Foundation for opening the doors and for making a big difference in my life. A special thank you to the entire board members for taking the initiative to help the Haitian youth eager for an education. I am thankful for your spirit, your great heart, and your passion putting in this mission.

DSC_9180To the President of the foundation, Mr. Jean St-Lot Gervais, thank you for your valuable advice. I also want to convey my deepest gratitude and heartfelt thanks to a special person, Ms. Sheri Colas-Gervais. Your kindness, your time, your devotion and your hard work throughout the process for me to get to the U.S. and to get settled in both colleges are very appreciated.

To all the supporters who have contributed to make this possible and to those who are thinking to join for the advancement of this great mission, thank you.  Thank you all for being here tonight!

Anything is possible!