A Different World

Mrs. Secrist, Liberty science teacher, her son Keian, and Bowen Gryp, sophomores, went on a mission trip to Gonaives, Haiti. There they submerged themselves in a ‘different world’ that is only a plane ride away.

Kaylee Deisbeck, Social Media Chair

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Mrs. Secrist, Liberty science teacher, her son Keian, and Bowen Gryp, sophomores, went on a mission trip to Gonaives, Haiti. There they submerged themselves in a ‘different world’ that is only a plane ride away.Individuals at our high school are changing our world, one action at a time. As of 2013, 80% of Haitians live in extreme poverty

After the 2010 earthquake in the Caribbean, millions of Haitians homes were in ruins, greatly contributing to this high poverty rate. Mrs. Secrist, a Liberty science teacher, stepped up to help those affected in Haiti. She now encourages students and faculty to do the same.

From August 1st, through August 8th, Mrs. Secrist, Keian Secrist, and Bowen Gryp embarked on a mission trip through One Nation Education to help kids and families in Haiti.

For the last seven years Mrs. Secrist and Keian have traveled to Haiti to run a bible camp, help find employment for Haitians, and update the school facilities. This was the first trip for Bowen.

My ultimate goal is to provide hope. Not just hope for them, but hope for us too.”

— Mrs. Secrist

Haiti first came to Mrs. Secrist’s attention in 2010. Woodly Jeune, a student of Mrs. Sercist from West High School, courageously asked Mrs. Secrist for help. His mother, brother, and grandmother were living in Haiti when the earthquake hit and for three days, he had no idea if his family was alive or safe.

“In that process, I knew there was something bigger at play. Something really calling me to do something more than just sit back,” said Mrs. Secrist about helping Woodly Jeune and his family.

After finally getting into contact with his family, Jeune confirmed that they were okay; however, his grandmother’s house was destroyed.

Six months later, Mrs. Secrist had raised enough money to travel to Haiti and build Jeune’s grandmother a new house.

“I came back and knew that somehow I wanted to connect my two worlds,” said Mrs. Secrist, referring to Haiti and her love for education.

She wanted to show her students that for many people throughout the world, life isn’t at all like what we have here in the United States.

Everyone there is so happy, and they have nothing. Over here we have pretty much everything we need or want and we’re not [happy].”

— Bowen Gryp, 10

After praying about finding a way to merge her two passions, Mrs.Secrist started One Nation Education.

One Nation Education collaborates with Mission Starfish Haiti to plan mission trips to Haiti. They run a faith based camp for a school in Gonaives, Haiti that serves more than 400 kids. Mrs. Secrist launched a campaign in 2014 to raise money for the school. She raised $60,000 to add a second floor to the building.

Since then, she also has run a  medical clinic, dentist clinic, and helped with construction projects. Secrist is very passionate about employing Haitians in these projects.

“My ultimate goal is to provide hope. Not just hope for them, but hope for us too,” expressed Secrist.

Keian Secrist has been going to Haiti with his mom since the beginning. At just ten years old, he visited Gonaives, Haiti with his mom and several of her students. Keian grew up with many of the kids in Haiti and Mrs. Secrist can’t imagine going on these trips to Haiti without him.

“Once I started to think about it, I really wanted to do something to help other people,” said Keian.

Keian’s favorite moment from this year’s trip was at the end of the camp when all the kids danced on stage. “[After being in an  environment with so much poverty] It makes me want to do everything I can to give back,” said Keian.

On top of leading teams of 26 to 36 people, Mrs. Secrist also had to balance taking care of her own children. A Haitian woman by the name of Timadame took Kasen, Mrs. Secrist’s youngest son, under her wing.

“She is the most beautiful women I have ever met, because she completely took it upon herself to act like his [Kasen’s] mom.” said Mrs. Secrist.  

Sadly, Haiti’s lack of medical technology and certified caregivers, resulted in Timadame’s death. This winter will be the two year anniversary of her passing.

“Sitting here it’s really hard. Here is this women who’s absolutely   amazing, who I know, who I’ve hugged, and who has taken care of my child and there was nothing we could do.” said Mrs. Secrist.

Bowen Gryp went on his first mission trip in August of 2018. His sister, Breeyn Gryp, 2018 Liberty graduate, urged him to go with her to Haiti since she had gone many years before.

“I was excited, but I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what it was or what was happening,” said Bowen. His most memorable moment on his Haiti trip was meeting the kids for the first time.

“I think I changed a lot,” said Bowen.“It put a whole new perspective on everything.” Bowen plans to go back to Gonaives, Haiti in the future.

Gonaives, Haiti is an important place to Mrs. Secrist, Keian, and now Bowen. They receive no profit out of these trips-only the opportunity to bridge communities.

While many think Haiti is just a country of ruins and poverty stricken people, according to Bowen that is not the case.

“Everyone there is so happy, and they have nothing,” said Bowen. “Over here we have pretty much everything we need or want and we’re not [happy].”