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MONTEVERDE FRIENDS SCHOOL - SINCE 1951

STUDENT APPLICATION PACKAGE


Our Community

Overview
History
Quakerism
 
"No, we do not feel that our gesture in coming here was a striking
blow against war or that, in itself, will it have any great effect toward
bringing universal peace among men. But every wave on the ocean
has its beginning in a tiny ripple somewhere, and perhaps our action
will be that ripple which starts others to thinking and acting so that
eventually the wave of public opinion will attain the desired end."
Arthur Rockwell
Founding member of the Monteverde community

The community they named Monteverde was first settled by 11 Quaker (also known as Friends) families, from Alabama, who decided to leave the United States and settle in Costa Rica in the early 1950’s. They did so because of strong beliefs against the military system in the US and because Costa Rica had chosen to abolish its army.

They later wrote, "And so it was that with green forests, green pastures, and green crops growing the year round, we named our new found land Monteverde (Green Mountain)."

The Road to Monteverde

The decision to move to Monteverde was taken after a scouting party of four men on horseback returned to the central valley of Costa Rica to tell the others of their findings.


 The meeting in which the group listened to the reports from the scouting party and made their decision to move to what is now Monteverde. April. 1951

 Traveling overland from the United States, Hubert Mendenhall’s truck made it to approximately 30 kilometers outside of Monteverde at which point the contents were transferred to oxen and cart for the balance of the journey. May, 1951

Monteverde Day

Rex Benson wrote in his 1957 article for the Tico Times, “April 19th is now 'Monteverde Day' in the colony, celebrated each year as the anniversary of the day when the first members of the group, one of several committees which had been scouting every part of Costa Rica, slugged their way up the final grade onto what was erroneously described as “Cerro Plano.” The name is a misstatement as there is no “level hill” within sight. But it does slant off enough from the perpendicular to be habitable. And to the weary would-be colonists, who had searched from the Panamanian border up the length of the republic and around over the Nicoya peninsula for land suitable to their needs, it looked good.”


 Monteverde Day was celebrated in tandem with the work bee on the school grounds in 1956.

 April 19th, 1988. A picnic celebrating Monteverde day at Campbell’s pasture.

Firsts


  The first wedding under the care of the meeting was held in August of 1951. The newlyweds exchanged the standard honeymoon vehicle for a traditional Costa Rican ox and cart.

 The first Christmas was celebrated in the building that housed the Meeting/school/general store.

Work Bees

“Work bees” were a tradition in the early Monteverde community. In his 1957 article for the Tico Times, Rex Benson wrote, “Each family has built its own house but, in the cooperative spirit common to the Plain People, there is always a “house raising bee” for the setting of the foundations and raising the heavy frame.”


 A work bee was held on the tent platform for Lucky and Wolfe Guindon's new home in 1952.

 In more recent years, students formed work bees to clear grounds and plant grass for the current soccer field.

Dairy Farming

The founding families brought with them their skill and experience in dairy farming and cheese production and established the Monteverde Dairy. Early cheese production was about 10 kg per day; today, Monteverde’s cheese factory produces over 1000 kg of cheese daily which is in great demand throughout the country.


The first dairy plant under construction in 1953

 The first cheese tank in production in 1954

A New School

Because the Quakers needed a place in which to educate their children, they founded Monteverde Friends School soon after their arrival and it has operated ever since. The first settlers wrote, “We believe we should try to create an atmosphere for our children in which real values, as we see them are given first place. As part of this, a school is maintained in which we try to help our children grow strong spiritually and mentally.”


The community at the last Meeting held in the old building. April 1957

 Current schoolhouse, completed in 1957. Lucky Guindon wrote, “There have been bees and more bees on the schoolhouse until it was done enough to move into and start school. We have Meeting there and it sure was nice to be able to wiggle, let alone breathe. And so much cheerier."

Integrating

The Quakers soon became acquainted with the Costa Rican families of the area. “The Costa Ricans, with the innate courtesy of all Latins, were quick to proffer their assistance to get the newcomers settled and teach them the art of existence where language, food and methods were all strange. And the friendly Quakers, whose beliefs acknowledge no barriers of race, creed or nationality, returned the gift with sorely needed medicines and nursing.” Lucky Guindon wrote in a letter dated 1956, “Humberto Solano (one of the original Ticos in the area) stopped in with his wife-to-be and her sister the other day. They have been living in our old house and have fixed it up real nice for family quarters. She seemed real nice and I’ll enjoy having her for a neighbor. Alejandro will live with them. The two brothers are about as nice a people as you’ll find around here.”


Humberto Solano and his bride, Cristina. February, 1957.

Last Modified: 3 June 2009
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