Following Katie Jurgel’s Life in Puerto Rico


Delaney Sandner, Staff Writer

Katie Jurgel took a big leap when she moved from Scituate to Puerto Rico, where she is a junior attending Saint John’s School.  

Jurgel lived in Scituate for the majority of her life.  She attended Jenkins Elementary school and made many close friends in the community. She also joined a dance team at Dance Carousel, which helped her develop a passion for the sport. She made lots of friends through dance, which helped her not only as a dancer but also as a person. This all changed when Jurgel’s father, Rob Jurgel, got the opportunity to work in Puerto Rico.

Moving to San Juan in 2016, Katie was devastated to leave behind all her friends in Scituate. Joining her parents, as well as her sister Emma and her brother Max, Katie knew it wasn’t going to be an easy transition, but she was excited about the family’s new adventure.  

Katie made several new friends in San Juan and thrived in school. Sadly, she was unable to continue her passion for dance since there weren’t as many opportunities for the sport in Puerto Rico. Instead, she spends her time taking pilates and yoga classes to stay healthy and active.  

According to Katie, one of the hardest parts of locating to a new school wasn’t just making new friends–it was the weather difference. San Juan typically is warm all year round and surrounded by beautiful beaches. Of course, for Katie that was a huge plus since she loves spending time at the beach. One downside, however, massive hurricanes can hit San Juan.  

In September of 2017, Puerto Rico was hit with Hurricane Maria, which was listed as a Category 5 hurricane. Katie was terrified when she learned what was about to happen. She was barely settled into her new home before the hurricane struck. Katie had never faced anything like this before and was completely unprepared for what was soon to come. Her whole family decided to leave Puerto Rico before Maria hit and luckily got the last flight out to New York City. Her family stayed in New York City for about 2-3 weeks before it was safe to return to the island they now called home. The damage left behind was horrible, and several houses and buildings were destroyed from the ground up. Luckily, Katie’s apartment was safe; however, there was some damage: the elevators were broken, windows were shattered, and there was extensive water damage. Consequently, the apartment was renovated to make it more hurricane-proof.  

After the hurricane, some people were forced to live in tents and many moved around to find shelter. Half the population fled the island and moved to areas like Florida and New York City. The schools were even shut down for about two months after Maria hit.

Katie and her family still love to come back to Scituate and visit friends and family. In fact, they recently visited. Katie’s brother Max moved back to the Massachusetts area and has his own apartment in the Hingham Shipyard.  This gives Katie the ability to visit even more often.  Katie loves her new life in Puerto Rico, but she still maintains her friendships in Scituate.