A New World

May 28, 2021


Brook Wenande

After finishing high school in Jamaica, Ms. Hanson came to BSM for her senior year.

LeBlanc: I kept track of Angie, and I would see her at 10 years old, 11, 12, 13, doing so well in school. And they finish school in 11th grade, she’s top of her class, and [there’s] very few opportunities for anything past that. I asked [Angie and one of her friends] if they wanted to come and be exchange students in America to do 12th grade, and she said absolutely––her friend was too shy to come.

Hanson: In my community, we have a kindergarten school which we call infant school, we have an all-age school (elementary), and we have a high school. So I attended all three. I started high school in 7th grade…there is a Caribbean-wide examination that you take to place you into high school, so I started in 7th grade all the way through eleventh grade. After 11th grade, that’s when I came here to BSM as an exchange student for 12th grade.

Hanson: The first time LeBlanc asked to bring Hanson back to the US, she was turned down. “I remember when I was 8 or 9 years old, [LeBlanc] had a conversation with my mom. And my mom was like, ‘No. You can come back in a couple of years when she is done with high school. Michelle was like, ‘ok.’ And she did, she came back. She actually kept her word, she came back and asked my mom again, and she said, ‘Yep, you can have her now!’

LeBlanc: I made one phone call to Benilde-St. Margaret’s, and I just told him about Angie and he said she can come. She lived with us for the first semester, and she lived with another host family for the second semester.

Hanson: Yes, it was a culture shock. Yes, it was a major climatic change––with the weather and all that you know. I came here in the summer, and a couple weeks after, I was like ‘Wait what’s happening, I can’t move, I’m frozen!’ So it was a major shock.

Hanson: It was a good cultural experience. There were some things that I saw and experienced myself and I was like wow, I never knew that. Good and bad. But I’m not saying bad in a grudgeful way; it’s also good at times to experience bad…so you know how to handle it. I had a good learning experience here at BSM.

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