Another great thing is that I became very close with my children’s friends, becoming a confidante for most of them.
From the President
HM: What advice would you give other ASF parents? TC: Get involved! I believe that every parent should try to get involved as much as possible. I know it’s difficult sometimes; there isn’t always enough time to be able to volunteer. But making the effort to do so is extremely gratifying.
As a special spring treat, the Parent Association section of this issue of Focus is dedicated to an inspiring interview with Tamara Cherem, a parent volunteer at ASF. On Founders Day last February 22, Tamara received a special honor for her volunteer work, and deservedly so, as you’ll discover in the accompanying interview conducted by PA Secretary Helga Mendoza. Before you get started, here’s a little bit of background, courtesy of Helga. Tamara has been married to her high school sweetheart for almost 25 years. They have three children: Alexis, 22, an ASF alum (’07) who is studying political science and international relations at ITAM, and attending the London School of Economics this year; José Moisés (’09), 20, studying architecture at Universidad Anahuac and Ivan, who will graduate from ASF this June. Tamara was born in Mexico City and studied journalism at Universidad Anahuac Norte. She later studied French at the Sorbonne in Paris, and then did her master’s in creative writing at the Casa Lamm. She has published a novel, Siempre las Jacarandas, and a book of short stories, Un Último Pedazo de Bruma. Her second novel is finished and in the process of being published. She has also taught classes in publicity at Anahuac. She enjoys studying the Kabbalah and has been doing so for the last 13 years. Please enjoy the interview. I hope it motivates you to become involved with the Parent Association if you are not already. I look forward to hearing from you.
HM: What has been the biggest reward in being a parent volunteer? TC: Well, today, after 14 years, when I know everyone on a first-name basis — my children’s friends, their teachers, the office secretaries, my children’s friends’ moms —that’s when I realize this was all well invested time. HM: You were instrumental in bringing the organization Convivencia sin Violencia to ASF. What exactly is CSV and what do they offer? TC: CSV is an organization started by Joaquin Quintana and its main goal is to teach and educate young people about the dangers of drinking through giving testimonials of people who have had their lives altered because of this. As part of CSV, there is the “Pacto de No Violencia,” which is headed by Carlos Holschneider, in which many schools in Mexico are partners. HM: How did your involvement come about? TC: I started with Convivencia sin Violencia almost by chance. The PA president at the time had asked me if I would be interested in attending a meeting with CSV because no one was available that day, so I agreed and went. After I attended that meeting, they asked me if I could bring CSV to ASF so there would be conferences of young people giving their own testimonials to students at school. At the first conference at ASF, this young person talked to the students about being safe at nightclubs and such, and how to deal with drunk people there who would maybe like to start a fight. Two months after this, my family and I were in Acapulco and one of my kids went out to a nightclub one evening. He came back two hours later and when I asked him why he had returned so soon, he told me he had left the club because he remembered what he had been told at the conference at school about running into drunk people who wanted to fight. He ignored them and left the club. That’s when I realized CSV conferences really did work and students listened to them, so I decided to get on board. Since then, I have attended many of their meetings and am now a part of their editorial board as well as the “Pacto de No Violencia.” Working in conjunction with a group of ASF parents, this has helped the implementation of the pacto in the Upper School. HM: Since you’ve been heading the CSV effort at ASF, what have been some of the events or conferences that have been held on campus? TC: Dr. Arturo Cervantes, director of Cenapra, the National Center for the Prevention of Accidents, joined our effort with CSV and brought to campus a three-day conference in which, apart from giving testimonials, they displayed a wrecked car on campus to try and create awareness about the dangers of drinking. Next year, we would like to introduce new activities and conferences on campus. HM: What suggestions do you have for parents of teens about partying in a safe way? Any thoughts? TC: Well, it’s a daily effort. We have to create awareness among parents because as parents, we have to remember we are the example to our children. It’s much more a case of being an example by actions than by what you tell them, and CSV addresses all of these concerns. HM: Tamara, on behalf of the PA and ASF, we would like to thank you for being part of our community and doing so much for the school and our children. TC: I appreciate this opportunity to talk a bit about how much my experience at ASF as a parent and volunteer means to me. In three months, my youngest son will graduate, and as one of the most beautiful, gratifying and enriching chapters in my life will end. I came to ASF with three babies and I now leave with three incredible adults. I came to ASF as a parent volunteer and today I leave as part of a family, part of a group of friends that will last me a lifetime. Now, I hope I can someday return to ASF as I hold my grandchildren’s hands. 19
HONORING A VOLUNTEER
Aliki Elias Parent Association President
Focus Spring 2011: The Green Issue