Hill faculty ruminate on Puerto Rico’s losses in the wake of Hurricane Fiona



In the past month, category four Hurricane Fiona struck many Caribbean Islands, leaving areas influenced in shambles.  It has impacted numerous households, including some of our Hill families. 

Hurricane Fiona affected Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Bermuda, and many other islands in that same region of the Caribbean. The aftermath of the hurricane is devastating. According to CNN, with the death toll reaching nearly 3,000 in Puerto Rico, even after a month, there are more than 230,000 clients in Puerto Rico without power.  

With students living inside the Hill “bubble,” members of the community are mostly unaware of the natural disasters striking our world. Regarding the subsequent number of hurricanes that hit the globe, administrators at The Hill School had some valuable thoughts that are important to hear.  

“It is unacceptable to me as an American citizen that fellow American citizens (acknowledging the following fact that Puerto Ricans are American citizens) have been victims of natural disasters so frequently, and yet don’t seem to have the substance of attention or concern needed, on a macro scale or in immediate response,” Assistant Head of School for Community Life Ari Baum stated in an email. 

However, it remains of utmost importance that we, as a Hill community, remain aware of these situations.  

Baum continued, writing, “The Hill community should know that the citizens of Puerto Rico are American citizens paying federal taxes. Yet, Puerto Rico citizens are sesemingly not thought of or treated as fully equal.”  

As President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden successfully ended a three hour visit of the hurricane sites in Puerto Rico, it is crucial for Americans and global citizens to maintain concern to the people that were greatly impacted by Hurricane Fiona. Baum hopes that the student body should hold itself to a higher standard by remaining aware of countries that were hit by Hurricane Fiona and the severe effects they can produce on the environment and our citizens as well. 

Associate Head of School Sylvia Rodriguez Vargas also challenged students to be engaged citizens of both the country and the world in response to the destruction brought by the hurricane.  

“I am hopeful that Hill students will develop the knowledge, leadership skills, and competencies to help shape solutions to these and other complex challenges into the future,’ Vargas explained.  

Information to help educate Hill members on Hurricane Fiona and support those affected by the tropical storm can be found at National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center and Federal Emergency Management Agency.