Our Founding Story
Son of Jacquelin and Viergemane Jean-Baptist, Pierre-Louis completed his elementary school education at St. Joseph's Primary School in Fontaine, and his high school education in Pignon. He loved learning, for it opened worlds of opportunity for him. On his daily walk to high school, he envisioned the building of a secondary school in his home town of Fontaine.
Upon completing high school, Pierre-Louis met people from St. Joseph's parish in New Jersey who, along with the Xaverian Brothers, a roman Catholic community of men, were willing to support him at the University of Port-au-Prince. With the acceptance of their educational support, came the understanding that once Pierre-Louis graduated, he would return to Fontaine and work in his community for five years. Once at University, his plan to open a secondary school in Fontaine started to take shape. With support, Pierre-Louis secured the afternoon use of a primary school building in Fontaine and opened its doors on October 4, 2010 to a class of 84 students.
The 2010 Haiti earthquake put a halt to Pierre-Louis' education. The earthquake spread mass destruction across Haiti, threatening an end to Pierre-Louis' college education and his vision of a secondary school. In response to the earthquake, Siena College reached out to sponsor three students from Haiti. Through Siena College professors, Drs. Tom Coohill and Pat Trutty-Coohill, Pierre-Louis was able to secure a scholarship from Siena College. The Coohills invited him into their home and Pierre-Louis was able to continue his education in Loudonville, NY.
Here, Pierre-Louis' commitment to his vision led him to Father David Noone and the parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Parish, now Christ Our Light Parish. Support for his vision grew and a building fund for the school with regular monthly collections started. With this financial commitment, members of the Fontaine community came together to begin the building of St. Gabriel's School.
A small group of St. Francis de Sales parishioners joined together to form Friends of Fontaine in 2011 and with the support of other parishes, organizations, and colleges, Friends of Fontaine was recognized as a tax-exempt non-profit organization in 2013.