Alumni Update: Helena Parewyck ‘14: Transforming Spaces in Interior Design

Meadowridge School has a proud tradition of nurturing talent, and one of its distinguished alumni is living proof of the school's dedication to excellence. Born and raised in Belgium, Helena lived in Ecuador for four years where she attended another International IB school before joining Meadowridge in Grade 9. Her journey through Meadowridge was marked by a passion for the arts as she joined the art clubs available at the time – an early sign of her creative spirit.

One of Helena’s most memorable moments at Meadowridge include Week without Walls, which takes students beyond the traditional classroom, allowing them to explore learning in the natural world and build valuable relationships with classmates. Another highlight was Spirit Days - As a member of the Kanaka House, Helena fondly recalls the enthusiasm and excitement, creating a positive and vibrant atmosphere at Meadowridge.  

Helena highlights the Kinder buddy program, where in Grade 12, she was assigned a kindergarten student as her buddy. The interactions and engaging activities with her assigned buddy created heartwarming experiences, fostering a sense of togetherness and support within the school community.  

After Meadowridge, Helena embarked on a journey of higher education. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design at Emily Carr University. During her first year, also known as “Foundation Year”, she explored general design principles, art history, and various artistic mediums. After the first year, Helena specialized her studies on Industrial Design, which offered a hands-on approach. Helena delved into projects involving furniture design and medical and health design, collaborating with local furniture companies, and working with diverse materials like wood, metal, and textiles. As she progressed in Industrial Design, she realized the direct connection between the skills she was acquiring and Interior Design. This realization led her to BCIT, where she pursued the fast-track Interior Design program, combining her knowledge from Emily Carr and BCIT to prepare for a career in Interior Design.  

Currently, Helena works for a high-end residential Interior Design firm in North Vancouver, with projects spanning from new construction to renovations. Helena values the diversity of projects, creativity, problem-solving opportunities, and collaboration with clients, architects, and builders. She finds great satisfaction in witnessing projects evolve from concept to completion, knowing she has contributed to the transformation of spaces that hold a special place in people's lives. The most enjoyable part of Helena’s job is the variety it offers. No two days are the same in the multifaceted field of Interior Design. She engages in tasks ranging from computer-based work such as creating 2D drawings and 3D models, sourcing materials and visiting construction sites. She juggles multiple projects, each with its unique challenges and opportunities, keeping the job interesting and providing continuous learning and personal growth. One surprising aspect of her role is that Interior Design extends beyond the traditional residential spaces. Helena had the opportunity to design interiors for a client's yacht, a unique and challenging experience that explored the intersection of luxury and functionality on the high seas.  

In her personal life, Helena and her husband are eagerly anticipating the arrival of their first child, embarking on an exciting new chapter in their lives. This alumni's journey from Meadowridge to a successful career in Interior Design is a testament to the school's role in fostering creativity and the pursuit of Helena’s passion.