Haitian Artist Tebo Comes to RFH

He radiates positive energy and endless creativity, and his biggest dream is to help young people with talent realize their own potential. His name is David Thebaud, or Tebo, as he is known in his native Haiti. He arrived at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) on Nov. 14th to meet, once again, with some of his biggest supporters.

As he did during his previous visit in 2014, Tebo spoke with students in French and Art classes at RFH. The students learned about Tebo’s creative process, life in present-day Haiti, and the challenges facing his art school, ELT.

The students were eager to know more about ELT,  or Espwa lavi pou Timoun in Creole, which means “Hope for children’s lives.”

Tebo, who co-founded ELT in 2002 with assistance from the Haitian People’s Project, explained the challenges of running the school.

“In Haiti, there are no public schools,” Tebo said. “And only schools that are politically connected receive any kind of support.”
“ELT is not a politically connected school, and therefore not supported — everything I do, whether it is creating and selling my artwork or participating in conferences, is done to support ELT and improve the lives of my students.”

Tebo said that 20 students are currently enrolled in ELT School. The limited number is not due to lack of enthusiasm but to lack of funds.

“Many days I work from six in the morning until 6 p.m. with just a short break for prayers and a meal,” Tebo said. “But when your focus is on taking care of others, what you are doing will end up inspiring and benefitting you as well.”

Tebo thanked the RFH students for their ongoing support of ELT and the Haitian people through fundraisers including candy sales and the annual “Hoops for Haiti” charity basketball event to benefit the Haitian People’s Project. “Hoops for Haiti” has been held at RFH each November since 2013, and has raised more than $2,500.

“We Haitians have a great appreciation for our American friends, and we want you to know that everything you do is helping us to build not only a better Haiti but a better world,” he said.

After meeting with the students, Tebo attended an informal get together and artwork exhibit at Canvas Art Studio on River Road in Rumson.

Featured at Canvas and available for purchase were pieces created by Tebo and members of his cooperative as well as bracelets made by ELT students. All proceeds were given to the Haitian Peoples Support Project to benefit the ELT School.

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the Haitian people are currently in even more desperate need of clean water, food, and other supplies.

For more information about ELT School and the Haitian People’s support project, visit haitiansupportproject.org.

— Edited press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management