Yvonne is a retired teacher from California who has graciously given much of her time and love to the children at Hope School over the years. She has worked as a English teacher for months at a time when we needed one, and has been an important advocate for the work of our school and for the students at Hope School. Following her last visit, September 2019, she has written this letter to share her experiences and reflections on the school. Thank-you, Yvonne, for this letter.
My life at Hope School - by Yvonne
The ﬁrst time I lived at Hope School was in 2008. I had gone on a Holy Land trip and was visiting Hope School when the principal mentioned he needed an English teacher. That sounded very exciting and I immediately volunteered to come back a few months later. At that time there were only two boys who were living at the school and I was given the responsibility to be their “house mother”. I took lessons in Arabic and with a bit of English mixed in we were able to communicate well and had a good time doing homework and playing games. They truly became my sons and I have kept contact with them since.
What started as a day school for boys in Jerusalem now is a secondary school for boys and girls with a boarding section for boys. An elementary school is being added and this year a third grade was opened.
Hope School has developed into a progressive secondary school that is willing to give students who have failed elsewhere, a second chance. Some students come from very poor families and are lovingly supported by the school. As a result there are many stories of students who were failing but managed to be successful and have gone on to lead productive lives. These stories have inspired me to come back and support the school several times.
Over the years I have made lasting connections with students and their families and feel very much at home at Hope School. I have been given a unique insight into the culture and history of the Palestine people and will always treasure their friendship.