CFS Memories–Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

In our last E-Newsletter (viewable here) we asked readers to take a moment to send us their favorite CFS memories. The results, compiled below, are an astounding mix of emotionally and descriptively poignant moments that truly encompass the heart and soul of the CFS as we experience it. A variety of parents, students, visitors, volunteers, and teachers all responded, and we invite you to take a moment to browse through them and enjoy the trip down memory lane. If reading this prompts you to take trip in the way-back machine yourself, leave us a comment with your own memory–it’s not too late!

“My favorite CFS memory…that’s hard because there are so many! However, one is working and speaking with Eduardo in Spanish and listening to his bromas (jokes).  What a special man.  The other was playing games in Spanish with the young camp group.  They are precious.”

–Summer Programs Participant 2011

“The kids’ favorite memories were the Art classes, climbing the trees and the friendships they made!  Our favorite memory as parents was watching our children open up to the experience of learning a new language, new friendships, the beautiful landscape, loving environment and just being a kid!”

–Summer Programs Participant 2011

“It was fun to hear what my daughter had to say about her favorite memories at the CFS. Here’s her response: ‘Dressing up in that tree house inside with my friend Maggie.  Making a book with Fabiana. Putting my hands in paint then putting my hands on paper then folding it in half with Esperanza. Going in the forest with all the kids.’ She has these memories from nearly 2 years ago!”

–CFS International Preschool Student, 2010

“My favorite memory is waking to the voices of third graders calling out my name in wonder and amazement as they ran outside in their pajamas to find Arenal Volcano flowing and glowing in front of us and the grunting of howler monkey surrounding us in the pre-dawn dark at San Gerardo during an overnight trip.”

–Former CFS 3rd Grade Teacher

“My favorite memory from CFS is probably just working with eduardo, milton, y victor julio because they managed to make all the hard work simple and fun. they really made the experience memorable.”
–CFS Volunteer, 2011

My favorite memory was 6th grade class trip to San Gerardo. No phones (out of order), no electricity (forgot the key), no 4-track (broken, used a horse instead). We walked with our guide at night into the forest where we sat for half an hour in the dark, watching flashes of lightning and the bioluminescent arthropods come trundling past. The moulding leaves glowed, as did decaying branches. A light we rarely see in our world of electricity. A student looked at me when we were back at the station, talking over our adventure in the candlelight, her eyes large and dark. “Oh my God, it is alive! The forest is alive. The trees are alive. When I sit in their branches, they are alive!!”

–6th Grade Teacher, 2000-2001

“One of my many great memories is stumbling across the 3rd grade class in the forest behind the 3rd and 4th grade classrooms sitting on logs, up in trees, and peppered in random places in the forest attentively listening to their teacher reading them a story.

–Former Development Coordinator, 2010

“I visited CFS with 11 high school girls in 2007. We brought donated school supplies and had a tour of the beautiful grounds. The folks from the foundation in Sewanee and Boston helped us to hand deliver other donations, with visitors from across the USA. I remember hiking on a nature trail. We “hugged” a huge tree, that took six of us with outstretched arms to fit around. I have framed and hung the poster in our family room. I still keep up on the news from CFS and feel a connection to students in Costa Rica. I hope to visit again one day!”

–CFS Visitor and Volunteer, 2007

“Opening circle, rainbows, and seeing Milton working so well with the kids – always smiles all around!”

–Former Land Management Volunteer, 2006

“I have two powerful memories to share.  I planted a tree at CFS in 2009 and I thought it was cool.  But I didn’t really fully understand what an important act it was to plant that tree until I traveled to other areas of Costa Rica that had been cleared – there I saw whole sides of mountains collapsing as they eroded without any protective cover of plants and trees.  The beauty and incredible diversity of your country depend on you watching over your land and using its resources wisely.  I am so glad that you are there, protecting and enjoying the natural treasure that you have!

My other memory was of the hospitality of your wonderful teacher, Milton Brenes.  He encouraged me to keep trying to use the Spanish that I learned long ago and that I studied again before I came to Costa Rica.  We had a great conversation for nearly 30 minutes about environmental education.  I was inspired by your teacher to be more passionate about my teaching and I felt most welcome and valued by him as a fellow educator!”

–Visitor, 2009

“I Can’t really think of just one memory because I have so many, but one of the last things we did at school which was really emotional and meaningful for me was the last whole-school peace circle in which we, the eleventh graders, went to the middle and other students and staff members told us their good memories and best wishes for us all! It made me realize how the school really engages with everything that happens within it and how each and every student is neither more nor less important than any other. It made me see how everybody that works at or attends the Cloud Forest School is respectful and cares for each other!”

–CFS Graduate, 2011

“I was a student of the CFC all my life, from kindergarden up through 11th grade. I love the school. A memory from my time there… I had so many great memories. I think one of those was when I was in high school, at the “mini-feria” fundraiser. The entire school was involved, there were many different activities organized by different grades. I remember the “jail” game that consisted of paying a ticket to put a specific person “jail” (a classroom), and that person or someone else had to pay 2 tickets to free them, the fun part was that the “police” had to catch the person first. There were other activities like ball games, face painting, cake contests, etc… there was food that parents brought to be sold, “cachivaches” (a grarage sale) and families from all grades were present. It was a very happy day. At the end all the high school students had a water balloon fight, we all got wet, and then we changed and went home. The next day we all shared our stories on what we did the day before, it was great.”

–CFS Graduate 2009

“I taught there from 1993-95, and one of my favorite memories is from my first year with the prepa (kindergarten) kids. At the time, our classes were taught in a barn. During recess, we’d all clamber down the slope to this great group of guayaba trees, and the kids would climb like monkeys to get the fruit. I don’t think the fruit ever got a chance to ripen because they’d pick the trees clean before that. But I’ll never forget the sweet, tart smell of green guayabas on the breath of all those little ones after we’d come back in and sit to read stories together. Too cute!”

–Former Kindergarten Teacher, 1993-1995

3 thoughts on “CFS Memories–Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder”

  1. I remember when I taught in the room beside the office that had branches radiating out from the central beam to create a tree. I passion flower vine came in through the window and wrapped around the ‘branches’. The blossoms were unreal. Then one day caterpillars invaded and I turned it into a science lesson. The caterpillars left little specks on the desks, and someone figured out it was caterpillar poop. The caterpillars became crysalids and we forgot about them until one day I arrived to find swirls of bright orange butterflies in our room. We spent the morning catching and releasing the beautiful insects. (I taught grade 2, 3, 4/5 between 1998 and 2004)

  2. This sounds like a great school! I am a student in the US researching education in other countries. I would learn here if I could. What are your extra-curricular activities? I am comparing them to my school in New York. Thanks!

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