“We influence each other (in mostly positive ways…)  I taught Analise violin, and now she teaches other children. Everything is very visible here.” – Helen Joyce,

Helen should know. She studied here from pre-kinder through grade 12, and her parents (Frank Joyce and Katy VanDusen) have been community leaders in Monteverde for decades.

What was it like studying at MFS for 15 years?      It was great being with the same group of people.  We were tight-knit, like siblings.  And I loved the teachers. They were really committed to us, you could tell.

Helen JoyceHow is MFS different from other schools?     I like MFS more than the big schools in New York City where I taught.  New York schools are very contained. Here children can play and be free. I also appreciate the strong sense of community here. Being around people of different ages taught me to interact with a wide range of people.  And this school is based in strong values – for example, how we address conflict and talk about feelings.

How was the transition from cloud-forest Monteverde to an American college?     I chose Oberlin in Ohio, which is small, progressive and artistic.  This made the transition more seamless than I expected.  My teachers, especially Jonathan and Heather who went to Oberlin, instilled confidence in me that I was academically prepared for college.

What are you doing now?     I just finished a 2-year post-baccalaureate science program in preparation for medical school.  I’ve also been working as a Spanish medical interpreter.  Thanks to my MFS education I am bilingual, able to understand where people are coming from, appreciative of different cultures, and experienced at translating and interpreting. All of this helped me get the interpreter job.

Where is home?    Monteverde.  But I have a more fluid sense of home; it’s a feeling.  I know that I’ll always continue to spend chunks of time in Monteverde.

Helen Joyce and friends