Ask Me Anything

In the latest Pulse blog, we learn about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria through the perspective of junior, Fernando Mendez at Miami Country Day School. Based on the conditions in Puerto Rico, which made transportation to and from school difficult for Mendez, he decided to come with his family to the states and enroll at Country Day.
How did you learn about the school?
My dad’s best friend lives in Miami and his daughter goes to Miami Country Day. When we moved here, my dad asked his friend about good schools in the area, and he told us about this school and how he’s never had a problem, that it’s a good school, and that we should consider enrolling here.
 
What happened to the community during or after Hurricane Maria?
My area and my community were hit hard, but not as hard as other places. Many telephone poles and exposed cables were ripped down. You could see trees in half, all over the road. So many to where the roads were blocked and we could not leave the neighborhood. I was there this past weekend, and many areas have gotten power but I believe that is still only 40% of the population. There’s a lot more people that have water now, but of course there are still some areas that don’t. I would say though, that the biggest impact was to the economy. People are scared of the economic climate and so they are moving to the US and other countries. That is the overall mood of the people. Of course, some people are optimistic, but most are worried. Some have lost contact with their families. There are a lot of resources, but distribution of food and water, and reestablishing communication has been stalled because of the debris on the roads. If anyone wants to ask me anything, I feel comfortable talking about the Hurricane and the damage.
 
Is the majority of your family still in Puerto Rico?
I have family in San Juan, the capital, and Ponce. Currently, most of my family in Ponce is staying with family in the US. My family in San Juan is still there, but they luckily have power and are safe.
 
What are some of the circumstances in Puerto Rico that people haven’t seen in the mass media?
If you go online to the articles about the Hurricane in Puerto Rico, you will see pictures of horrible disasters, the worst conditions possible. This isn’t as common as people believe. Of course it is prevalent, but not as many areas were really hit hard to where debris was everywhere. Many areas are strong and stable, but sometimes the media shows the worst of the worst. The point is to show how severe it was, but it is a lot better than the media portrays it.
 
How are you adjusting to life on campus?
Luckily, I’m always open to new areas and situations, so I am able to adapt quickly. I’ve been to summer programs and situations similar to this where I don’t know anybody, but I have been social and have met new people. I’ve already adjusted to classes on campus and the teachers have been nice to me as well. It hasn't been bad so far. I’m still getting adjusted to it, but like all things, it comes with time. I’ve talked to other students who came to MCDS a couple years ago and they say the same.
 
What are some of your favorite classes?
I’m enjoying my Calculus class with Mr. Hutsko, he’s a fun teacher. We also have interesting conversations in World Literature. Right now, we’re reading Purple Hibiscus about a girl from a rich family in Nigeria surrounded by poverty, who sees both sides of the circumstances.
 
Finally, in general, if anyone wants to ask him anything he is open to it.  He feels comfortable, and it’s not that delicate a subject for him personally. He’s open to conversations and welcomes anyone to learn more.
 
Miami Country Day makes it a priority to integrate all students into a safe and accepting learning environment, complete with the stimulating Upper School curriculum Fernando mentioned. To learn more about MCDS, visit our website at miamicountryday.org
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