Interview with Hamlin Alumna and Teacher: Helen (Fowler) Ortiz ’03

Helen (Fowler) Ortiz graduated from The Hamlin School in 2003 and is now back with us teaching Kindergarten.

1) What are your favorite memories of Hamlin?

Outdoor Education (we sang songs to keep our morale up in the Yosemite sleet), cross-country skiing, Halloween (I loved making costumes), singing the song the Witches’ Brew, the 8th grade musical (Bye Bye Birdie), Famous American Women’s Tea, and Field Day, to name a few! My closest friends are my Hamlin friends, they are like family to me. Also, as a 7th grader I volunteered in a 1st grade classroom reading to the girls and playing games, that experience started me thinking about becoming a teacher. 

2) What is it like coming back to Hamlin as a teacher? 

It is exciting and inspiring, the longevity of the teachers is a testament to the Hamlin school community. Hamlin is a school that always strives to do more and a place where teachers help each other out. It is wonderful seeing all my old teachers: Ms. Aquino, Ms. Gustavson, Ms. Abbott, Ms. McDonald, Ms. Hillegas-Stommel, and Ms. Metcalf. I loved my Hamlin teachers.

3) How has San Francisco changed since you were a kid?

There are so many new restaurants and hip new stores popping up
everywhere! I am constantly finding new places to go for a coffee or
a meal.  I think there are also more people.

4) Which inspiring American woman were you and what is one thing you
learned from her? 

I was Helen Keller and one of my best friends was Anne Sullivan.
She led me down the Stanwood stairs.  My take away from learning
about Helen Keller is her quote, “Alone we can do so little;
together we can do so much.”  This rings true about the classroom and
being a a faculty member in an incredibly supportive community.

5) What are you excited about for teaching Kindergarten?

I absolutely LOVE Kindergarten.  It is the entry point for the
children and their families to develop a love of learning and a love for
The Hamlin School community.   I want my classroom to feel like a home
for the girls, so this is their space to try new things, make
mistakes, make a mess 🙂 and have fun.

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