from the board of trustees
uring this 2010-2011 school year, ASF celebrated its 123rd anniversary. The school has been able to survive for so many years because of the hard work of committed individuals who worked tirelessly to ensure its longevity.
Some years ago, the Board of Trustees, along with the faculty and staff, decided to honor individuals whose participation in the founding and continuation of the school embodies the values we try to instill in our students today. For this reason, on February 22, the date the cornerstone of the first real ASF campus was laid in 1922, our community celebrates Founders Day. During the celebration, awards carrying the names of important historical individuals are given to a selection of current community members who embody these beliefs. A list of this year’s honorees appears on page 6 of this issue of Focus. Here I would like to share with you a little bit about the historical figures for whom the awards are named. Bessie Files, the first and only teacher at The American School for quite a while, traveled to Mexico from Texas in 1888 carrying in her luggage the basic teaching materials that could not be found at the time in Mexico. For this reason the Files award represents initiative. Edna Clifton, who taught at the school for 26 years, helped with the founding of the original Parent Teacher Association, and with the modernization of the curriculum. For this reason the Clifton award represents love of learning. Charles Cummings was president of the Board from 1911 to 1916, the most difficult years of the Mexican Revolution. Although life was very complicated in Mexico during this time, the school remained open and functioning except for the 10 days of the Decena Trágica, when President Francisco I. Madero was assassinated. Even under these complicated circumstances, Mr. Cummings signed the diplomas of graduating seniors who were accepted by U.S. universities. For this reason, the Cummings award represents leadership. Edward Orrin, a circus owner, offered land to ASF to build its first campus. (The school previously had rented facilities.) For this reason, the Orrin award represents community. Bolling Wright, an ASF dad and chair of the Board for 24 years, generously dedicated his time and energies to the advancement of the school. He developed the financial and physical projects of the 1922 campus as well as the current Tacubaya campus. For this reason the Wright award represents generosity. John R. Davis established the school in 1888 in a converted room in his own home and watched it grow for many years. For this reason the Davis award represents risk-takers. Henry Cain was a superintendent of the school who was able to secure for the students accreditation by the Mexican education secretariat by proving that some schools in the United States gave instruction in Spanish. For this reason the Cain award celebrates appreciation of diversity. Lewis Lamm, the architect who developed the nearby Condesa and Roma neighborhoods, designed the 1922 campus that ASF occupied on San Luis Potosí street without charging the school for the project. He also developed the original plans for the 1946 campus we still occupy today. The Lamm award represents culture. The institution we know today as The American School Foundation is very different from the one in 1888. But today, as in the past, ASF still requires people willing to give their time, effort and resources for the advancement of the school. I invite you to Be Part of it. Get involved and make a difference in whatever way you can!
Rosa (Marentes) Pisinger Chair of the ASF Board of Trustees 5 Focus
Focus Spring 2011: The Green Issue