Page 1

COVER STORY class ‘o5


a h t r i M s Mis TORY F EATU R E S



Spring 2014 VOL. 1 NO. 13 ·

may 2014


To facilitate the balanced development of our students; with commitment and respect for the local community and a multicultural world. Mirtha Stappung M.Ed., MA General Director

Debra Cortney MA Pre–school Principal

Mark Dunn M.Ed., MA Elementary School Principal

Robert Callahan M.Ed., MA Middle School Principal

Adrian Leece MA, BSc, FRMtS High School Principal

Arturo Bustamante Athletic Department Director

A step into the future

Dra. Josefina Morgan Financial Director

Jeffrey Lewis


Ing. Ángel De Lope Friedeberg , C.P. Benito Adolfo Tagle Jiménez, Arq. Matthew Schmidt Covo, Dr. Raúl Gerardo Paredes Guerrero, Lic. Luz Ma. Aguirre Schoelman, Arq. Martha Naranjo Romero, Dra. María Isabel Miranda Sauce. Board of Directors

Lic. Mónica Duarte Balcárcel

Editor in chief and Chair of the editorial board

Virginia Watkins, Mónica Duarte, Mirtha Stappung, Ángel de Lope Friedeberg, Cristina Durango, Christian Yáñez, Clara Núñez Regueiro. WRITERS



Leonor Cortina · Karime Dorantes Gtz. Proofreading and translation

sextosentido Design & COVER PHOTO

Víctor Ortega, Asbed Levi. Photography

Alumni contact

Virginia Watkins vwatkins@jfk Advertising Sales

Karime Dorantes Gtz. Ph. (442) 218 0075 ext. 1010


Miss Mirtha Class


50 Years of JFK History… and You Are a Special Part of It!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Editor’s Note

We owe our school’s success to the participation of all our community

Betty Borrego

Aracely Pantoja

The JFK Fundraising Committee, a new assignment for the school COVER STORY Class of '05


Edit or’s


In intetrhvis new ed retiri iew we d ition, w 11 o ng af id wi e wan editifowhich wteer 30 yetah Miss Mtirto share the gr n, we ho re as a rs of wor tha Sta with you We are eat lega nor her General king fo ppung, w the ho is goin cy sh caree Direc r the Cl featauss of 20g05to misseyleaves rtoand thatonr. In tshcihool, k her s the her red on alum ou ve that vsision ofour cove,rEstefanríy much JMFiK commufnor commi he has a Mexico a . In her a Rubín ss Mirth ity. In tment chiev nd th artic de Ce a! sharethe spor,tsdiscipliend due toe successlfe, she lsihs, is that Ks their i section e and paher dete ul careeares enned nsigh , our ssion rminat r y host ts on i g On thi the AiSrls’ voflolr her woorn, ed. OMEX eyball k. of y s oc Tourn team studeouth” bycahsion we ament h n a a t v s v , “word write ing on e deci s Mr. Án of wisd an art e of ou ded to impor gel de L om” by icle. We r Middle add a “t sta tance ope F our Pr ’ve al Schoo ouch helpteidng thato,f the cromiedeberge,sident soof includle succe our sc member munity’s who talk the Boa d ss, bu hool r involv part s abo rd, t also ise to ement icipat ut the I invi maint its cu not on ion, ains i rrent ly ha zine b te our t. level s team o y becom readers of r by w ing a p to par r t a i i r c t t ing an of ou ipate We artic r JFK T in our as muhope you e le. IMES e magach as njoy t ditori w h e i s e njoye Mónic J al F K T d mak IMES Editora Duarte i e ng it! ditio mduar in Chie Balcár n just cel te@jf f mx 3

One crucial point is the scoring of the exams. The ACT does not penalize for wrong answers



Choosing the “Right” Test for College Admissions By Christian Yañez


hroughout their school years at JFK, the students have taken standarized exams, such as the Stanford Exam, PSAT or the TOEFL PBT. While these exams can help measure a student’s proficiency in English and/or in various subjects, they can also serve as practice for when the official college admission exam is taken. Fast forward to junior year in high school (11th grade)… You are probably thinking you may want to apply to college in the United States, and you have just realized that you have the 4

option of taking either one (or both) of the college admission exams that will fulfill the standardized test requirement for most college and universities. You might wonder: “Should I take the SAT or ACT?” “What’s the difference between both exams?” After reading this article, you should have a better idea of which test is best for you. So grab your No. 2 pencil and be ready to take notes. According to The Princeton Review, there are several key differences between both standardized tests. It is

“Should I take the SAT or ACT?”“What’s the difference between both exams?” After reading this article, you should have a better idea

It may take you several times to read a question before figuring out what an SAT question is asking, while an ACT question is more straightforward.

common for people to make the mistake of reading too much into a problem, or a question and as a result, they second-guess themselves. If this sounds familiar to you, the SAT may present a bigger challenge. It may take you several times to read a question before figuring out what an SAT question is asking, while an ACT question is more straightforward. The Princeton Review provides the following two sample questions: SAT: What is your view of the claim that something unsuccessful can still have some value? ACT: In your view, should high schools become more tolerant of cheating? Remember, these exams are timed, so time is of the essence. Another major difference is the vocabulary section of the examinations. One of the biggest critiques of the SAT is that it includes vocabulary that is not very common in everyday life. Therefore, it makes it very difficult to do well when working with words you’ve probably

One of the biggest critiques of the SAT is that it includes vocabulary that is not very common in everyday life.

never heard of. This may be even more challenging as a non-native English speaker. The ACT isn’t very keen on big words, so for many this difference is important. Fortunately, the College Board (creators of the SAT), have recently announced that they will revise the SAT and make significant changes to this part of the exam. Stay tuned! Science and Mathematics are two strong areas for many students in Mexico. The ACT has a science section, while the SAT does not. As for the mathematics section, the ACT deals with more advance concepts such as trigonometry. Students at JFK see these concepts in addition to calculus; therefore students may find the ACT questions more to their advantage. What about the duration and sections included? Both exams last roughly about three and a half hours. However, the SAT is broken up into 10 sub-sections like: the Critical Reading, Math and a required Writing. While the ACT has four sections,

Science and Mathematics are two strong areas for many students in Mexico. The ACT has a science section, while the SAT does not.

Perhaps, you may be inclined for a particular test, but the college or university you’d like to apply to, only accepts the other one.

English, Math, Reading and Science. There is a Writing part on the ACT considered “optional”, however some schools may require it. One crucial point is the scoring of the exams. The ACT does not penalize for wrong answers, however the SAT subtracts ¼ of a point off of the raw score. Hence, it is best to leave a question unanswered on the SAT if you are not sure of the answer. This is just one tip that one can learn with proper preparation for these exams. As a college counselor and from people I know, I’ve heard some who prefer one test to the other. My job is to provide students with the necessary guidance to make an informed decision. Perhaps, you may be inclined for a particular test, but the college or university you’d like to apply to, only accepts the other one. This is where I come in, to equip students with the necessary tools to do research about the school, its requirements and ultimately, to tackle the standardized exam. 5


We owe our school’s success to the participation of all our community

Board of Directors

By Ángel de Lope Friedeberg President of the Board of Directors

Our children’s education is the main objective

community in order to maximize the benefits provided by the school with their help. Parents’ involvement in the Assembly, in the In John F. Kennedy School’s committees, as Class and development and growth, the Grade Level Representatives creation and participation of and in school events, allows committees in support of the us to get great results withBoard and/or the Director out disrupting our school’s of the School, is certainly daily operation. an important element. In traditional schools, decisions are driven by the interests of an owner or a group of owners, whatever they may be. This leads to The JFK’s highest governmost of the decisions being ing body is the Assembly; made largely in light of their it is here where academic own benefit and not necesprograms, tuition fees, sarily in that of the school's investment decisions and all community as a whole. projects driving the future of The JFK is a nonprofit orour school are discussed. It ganization, without owners, is currently composed of 42 which has as its main goal parents from different secour children’s education. tions of the school who, in We reach out to the whole

Parents are in charge of our school


order to join this assembly, they have to strictly comply with the laws established by the school for this purpose. Every two years the Board of Directors is selected from this group which is responsible to follow up on the decisions taken by the Assembly. The Board of Directors is also responsible for the recruitment of the General Director of the School, and for providing him the needed support to carry out the goals and objectives defined by the Assembly. JFK’s daily operation lies on the General Director and on the Principals of each area; the Assembly and Board Members are not involved in the daily activities of the school. When children of Assembly members leave the school, they in turn must leave the Assembly, and it

We reach out to the whole community in order to maximize with their help the benefits provided by the school.

PS Parents’ Association

health and safety, fundraising, behavioral, and special events committees. Their main function is to generate ideas, policies and recommendations that are given to the Board for review, and if approved, they would be implemented by the Board or seek the approval of the Assembly depending on the topic in question. These mechanisms allow the involvement of many parents in the school's development. Also, when necessary, new committees are created like the latest one formed to analyze after As we have seen, the essence school sports activities. This of the school's administration allows all participants to be depends on the involvement informed of the challengof parents in the Assembly, es and constraints faced but the success is due to the by every project, and the participation of all. One way committee to propose and to increase this participation recommend changes or is through the formation of adjustments based on the committees in which many concerns and opportunities members of the community, identified and expressed in students, parents, teachers one way or another. and administrative staff, are This is how the school, considered for the diligence about to celebrate its 50th of specific issues. This is why Anniversary, has managed to we have – among othersinvolve the entire community scholarship, infrastructure, in its successful development.

Committees: A way of fostering collaborative work

ES Parents’ Association

Close to celebrating its 50th Anniversary, our school has managed to involve the entire community in its successful development.

will fall upon the remaining members to invite new parents who can assist in the development of the school to join the assembly. In addition to this, a significant number of parents support the school as Class and Section Representatives that bring their effort and support to the process of everyday communication.

MS Parents’ Association



A step into the future



JFK Middle MUM Union & Peace 2013

By Clara Núñez-Regueiro MS 7th A


elegate can be defined as, “a person sent or authorized to represent others, in particular an elected representative sent to a conference”. This definition focus mainly on authority, right? Now, how about the authority and responsibility of solving a world controversy such as Syria and its chemical weapons, or the death penalty? The responsibility of solving a major issue is heavy, but effective. Model U.N. is a club where not only do we tackle world issues, but we also learn valuable life skills such as public speaking or forming alliances, and amazing things like writing resolutions for global issues, and passing them. Here we debate, interact, learn rules of procedure, and many other things that the pros do! Parties are one of the best parts of the MUN experience. As you get out of the stifled committee room, you


hear the sound of the music blasting and see lights flashing. People dance, mingle, laugh, eat, and build relationships, all of that at one of those parties! Here you can see a picture of our very own Union and Peace party. I interviewed Miss Camille Casses, the middle Model United Nations advisor to learn a little more about it. What do you do in MUN? I’m like a facilitator or a guide. Initially, I have to teach students about the procedure, but most of MUN skills come from doing events and participating, so that part is really up to the student. I’m kind of a guide for the rest of the year, and students can come to me to talk about a problem. What is it like being a MUN advisor? Personally, I’m pretty organized and I try to do everything on my own, so it’s good

Model U.N. is a club where not only do we tackle world issues, but we also learn valuable life skills such as public speaking or forming alliances.

practice for me too. Letting the club officers delegate the responsibilities that I used to do myself, has given me more time to let go and let things happen. The feeling I get most, is pride. I know they’re not my kids, but it feels really good when we go to other schools and we represent out school so well. I think it is all about trial and error, about letting people make mistakes, allowing students to explore and try new things. What is the best part of being an advisor? Watching students debate. The energy is so intense, and students say the most amazing things. It’s better than any TV show. It’d the same as when you’re teaching a class and there’s just a moment and it’s just so perfect and fun. Describe our parties. I honestly think that some students do MUN for the

The feeling I get most, is pride. I know they’re not my kids, but it feels really good when we go to other schools and we represent out school so well.

What’s the best part of MUN? The way you can express yourself and how you can interact with people from other schools and places in What impresses Mexico. You initially fight you most about MUN? against each other, but then First of all, the size. We have we all come together to fix You’re also the group’s histoso many delegates. At this a big problem, and that’s point we have 43 members. I rian, describe what you do. really cool. I record everything and also think that Kennedy kids then I make the brochures of How has this changed you? have really good command At the beginning I didn’t the internal events and the of the English language. That really reflects when we graphic parts of the placards. speak. I never participated in any moderated/underrated go to events. It’s like an army What’s it like? events. Now I participate in of amazing kids, a bunch of At the beginning, it’s a lot of making the resolution papers suits just walk in the room. pressure, and you have a lot and I speak up to people that There’s a silence and you of nerves, but as time goes I don’t agree with. can hear, “Are those the Kenby, you get used to it and nedy kids?” you start speaking more and Model UN is a fascinating What’s the best having more confidence in learning experience that yourself. part of MUN? allows you to meet new I feel we’re doing something people, go to fun parties, and Describe the parties. important. I have no doubt basically learn and grow. I’m At JFK, ours was the best, that someone in MUN is going next year too. I hope many people tell me that it going to work for the UN. was amazing! The food is very to see you there, if you’re good; the music is better than a current or future middle After interviewing her, I everywhere else too. If the school student. went to a good friend of mine, Aline Perera to get event isn’t going well, then This is me, signing off for her input on the subject. the party will lift your spirits. now. I’ll see you soon. parties. I think that’s fine though, since we get to interact with other people. It’s a great way to meet kids from all over the country.

What do you do in MUN? I prepare myself by writing position papers and doing research. In the first session I observe the enemy and then in the second session I try to make allies and then attack more.



We say goodbye to Beatriz Escamilla Berrones (a.k.a.) Betty Borrego


y name is Beatriz Ecamilla Berrones but everyone knows me as Betty Borrego because that’s my husband’s last name. I have worked in this school for 20 years. I started out as a teacher for the typewriting workshop of 6th graders; I was there for one year. After that, I was a substitute teacher for whenever any teacher would be absent and then I became an assistant to the Academic Board and to the General Director. It was from there where they "grabbed" me to go and work in High School where I happily worked for 10

10 years. When I was asked to be assistant to the General The Kennedy school has given Director, I was very pleased to hear a student say “the me so much; beautiful best thing of High School is friendships, the leaving”. satisfaction of The Kennedy school has having worked given me so much; beautiful for so many friendships, the satisfaction people and to of having worked for so have helped many people and to have them in helped them in everything everything I I could at the time, and could at the having acquired professiontime and of having acquired al knowledge. The school has an amazing charm and professional knowledge. I’ve always been a loyal member of it. I’ve always felt very proud of its academic standards and its prestige.

After 23 years, Araceli Pantoja retires from the school I’ve loved having been able to be in such close contact with the school. You grow fond of it. You get to see when students do great and when they graduate. When one of the students would have to take a make-up test, I would feel really bad and I would reach out to them and asked them what happened. I’ve been working for the General Direction for seven years now and I feel very flattered to be taken into account for everything. Now that I’m leaving, people ask me “How will we be able to find anything now?”


’ve been a teacher of PreFirst grade for 23 years now… which is longer than a master’s degree and a doctorate altogether. People often ask me “aren’t you bored?” and my response is, that my job has been an experience all in itself. Every day is always different, because each group is different. The school has given me so much. The Kennedy school has shaped me and helped me discover skills that I didn’t know I had. It has helped me grow as a person. I leave this school taking with me so many experiences and so much love. I take with me the little kids

that hug me every day and that tell me that they love me or just want to thank me. To see them grow it’s amazing. They begin here at 5 or 6 years old, knowing the sounds of some letters or some words, and at the end of the school year they are able to write and read short texts. This is the children’s first official encounter with reading and writing, and to see their progress is very gratifying. I would like to tell to the person that takes my place, to make the most of it, to love the children, to not tell them what to do but to guide them and show them how to get there.

People often ask me “aren’t you bored?” and my response is, that my job has been an experience all in itself.

I take with me the little kids that hug me every day and that tell me that they love me or want to thank me. To see them grow it’s amazing.



l l a b y Volle WHAT A GREAT SPORT!

asketball After trying b ked volleyand soccer I li ... volley is ball the most ork. about team w


t was really fun to watch how other teams from other schools play, but most of all, to receive the support of our school. I’ve been playing volley for five years now. After trying basketball and soccer I liked volleyball the most because, unlike other sports where one player can score and win the game on its own, volley is about team work. It might seem easy, but it requires great mental and physical effort. I recommend everyone to try it!

ur bigge st ASOMEX is o ar. It’s event of the ye eet girls really fun to m hools. from other sc


’ve been playing volley for the school’s team for a long time and asomex is our biggest event of the year. It’s really fun to meet girls from other schools. This time we had a lot of support and I felt the interest in the sport growing. We are getting better and it’s nice to see that we are building a better team. Sofía Ruiz Castillo 9th grade

Briana Lewis 8º A

Mónica Duarte

ASOMEX, the Association of American Schools in Mexico is best known within our community, for the sports tournaments it holds every year. These tournaments are defined by their high level of competition and for being extremely well organized. This year, the John F. Kennedy School of Querétaro had the privilege of hosting the Women's Volleyball Tournament. We worked very hard preparing ourselves for this event to be able to present great teams as well as to be first class hosts. 12

Here we share the insights of the Coach and some of the team members whose team has enjoyed a spectacular winning streak this year. This team has been amazing. In addition to winning asomex, they won the lideip league tournament, they were runners-up here in the State Tournament held in Querétaro and won The Sportsmanship Award, and they are currently on first place in the league tournament. What can I say? They are unstoppable!


hole school To have the w r us felt great cheering on fo ur school´s and to honor o better. name felt even

o have the whole school cheering on for us felt great and to honor our school's name felt even better. I have been playing for nine years but this was my first asomex tournament. I liked it very much. Girls from other schools were great; you could really feel the bond. Valeria Isla Arboleya 9th grade


years, it is After all the se ction for me a great satisfa finally have e w t a th , e e s to of followers. a large group

’ve been working as a volley ball coach for the school for eighteen years. We are very fortunate to have a group of very committed students who set a goal and work very hard to achieve it. After all these years, it is a great satisfaction for me to see, that we finally have a large group of followers who want to join us. Carlos Javier López Mata 98-99 Category’s Coach



The JFK Fundraising Committee, a new assignment for the school

target will allow the school to achieve medium and long term goals, such as the Elementary School Building. The JFK School is now planning to diversify its income sources to favor new infrastructure projects.

Philanthropy, the most feasible form to diversify the school's income

The JFK Fundraising Committee studied how other educational institutions By Cristina Durango diversify their incomes and Capital Campaign Coordinator analyzed the most effective approach for our school. The construction of the new Elementary The committee also consultSchool Building is an institutional milestone ed with professionals and for the JFK School. As you may know, the cost considered factors, such as: institutional capabilities, of the building exceeds 80 million pesos. institutional philosophy, past school events, student and This great project revealed committee is planning new staff population, parents’ the school’s necessity for di- ways to obtain resources at a Philanthropy participation and communiversifying its income sourfaster rate. is still not a ty traditions and behaviors, common ces. In that regard, a FundAfter sharing ideas with among others. This exercise raising Committee has been the Board of Directors, it was tradition in revealed philanthropy as the our culture created in order to develop decided that in order to immost feasible form to diversistrategies for obtaining reprove the performance of the fy the school's income. Howsources for future projects. fundraising plans, a dediever, philanthropy is a tradiThis group consists of parcated member of the school tion that is still not common ents who are members of the staff was required to coorin our culture. Some statisOur Capital school’s General Assembly dinate these efforts. Theretics from the Johns as well as key staff. Frist, the fore, the JFK School created Campaign: A Hopkins Comparative NonFundraising Committee anthe Fundraising Area. This is multifaceted profit Sector Project 2006 realyzed the rate at which the the school’s first step for cre- program that veal that the US designated requires both school generates its savings ating a Capital Campaign. 1.85% GDP (gross domesstrategic to be used for physical infra- But what is a Capital Camtic product) to philanthropplanning and structure, and the conclusion paign? It is a multifaceted commitment ic causes, while in Mexico, was that it would take sevprogram that requires both from the leaders it was only 0.04%. There is a eral years before the school strategic planning and com- of the school t long way to go, but we are enwould be able to save for an- mitment from the leaders of o reach a couraged because we know other project of the same the school to reach a fundfundraising that other American schools magnitude. This is why the raising target. Reaching this target 14

in Mexico and local universities have accomplished their capital campaigns by developing philanthropic oriented strategies. As stated before, the JFK School is at the very first stage for developing a Capital Campaign. Philanthropic income will begin to impact after a couple of years of following a well-defined strategy. There is no specific literature for a “well-defined strategy”, however, the committee consults constantly with professionals who provide inputs that could work well for the school. The Fundraising Committee considers some elements for this process that include but are not limited to: defining a case for support, what the JFK School wants to achieve, the resources, identification of fundraising prospects, fundraising methodology, targets definition, and calendar of activities. A good strategy will help the school to prioritize projects and concentrate actions in order to reach the outlined goals.

cate externally how the JFK School contributes to helping the community around us and is forming the leaders of the future. Fundraising is not merely the act of asking for money or resources, but rather the creation of an experience that has benefits for both the donor and the recipient. It helps the recipient to accomplish its institutional goals and allows the donor to support a cause motivated by personal or institutional purposes. There is a natural connection between philanthropy, fundraising and education institutions such as ours and the goal of Finally, it is very important the Fundraising Committee that the entire JFK commuis to take advantage of this nity believe in “fundraising” connection and apply the exas an opportunity to increase periences of similar institufinancial resources for our tions in order to improve and institution and communienhance our school.

Fundraising, the creation of an experience that benefits both the donor and the recipient

José María Lozano, Raquel Voorduin, Benito Tagle, Jeff Lewis and Cristina Durango. Capital Campaign Committee



An interview with

g n u p p a t S a h t Mir By Mirtha Stappung

As I walked around our campus a few days ago I felt so proud of our school and proud of everyone that has helped make our school the outstanding educational institution it is today. For 50 years, JFK has been constantly improving its facilities, its programs and services and the quality of education it offers to students from Preschool to High School. I am so proud to have been a part of the school's history and development for 29 years. I have seen our school grow and build a great reputation. I have seen many generations graduate and many alumni come back later as parents. I will miss the campus, the students and parents, my colleagues and this incredible JFK family. I feel so lucky to be have been a part of this community and I will hold it close to my heart forever.

I Remember saying how nice and convenient it would be for my daughter to attend JFK and I even commented… ”Maybe I could even work there one day!”

I will miss JFK and all of you. 16


The children’s favorite thing to do was to catch frogs and insect s and cut wild flowers.


hen and how did you arrive at the Kennedy? I studied education in Chile and got a scholarship to study Literature in the US; got married there and moved to Mexico City. Five years later, we opened a business in Querétaro and stayed here. I began working at JFK in 1985. I had been living in Queretaro for a year when I met Aleyda MacKernan who was acting as interim General Director of the school after her husband’s passing. We sat next to each other at a dinner party and during our conversation she learned that I was an English teacher and asked me to sub in a first grade class the next day. Well, after that


We had so much fun sitting under a tree with my little boys and girls while reading Anthony Brown’s books. They are still my favorite stories

substitution came an offer to teach that class permanently and I loved it. We were building our house just two blocks from the school. When we bought that piece of land I remember saying how nice and convenient it would be for my daughter to attend JFK and I even commented…”Maybe I could even work there one day!” Imagine… I came here to teach for a week and stayed for 29 years! JFK grew on me very quickly and I could not imagine my life without this wonderful place and without the friends I have made; Miss Carmen, Miss Flor, Miss Maricruz, Miss Pily, Miss Felicia and many more who joined the school a few years later. Most of us had sons

and daughters in the same class, we even taught them in K-1 and Pre-First, what a fantastic experience that was! My daughter called me Miss Mamy one day so, we had a conversation at home and decided just Miss Mirtha would do while in class. How was the school back then? The school was an open space and all of the buildings were painted in green. No fences, not a lot of resources, very few rules, just a few rustic buildings and most of the furniture was made in the school carpentry shop by “Don Juanito”. Some pieces of that original furniture are still around, just painted in a different color, above layers

and layers of old green paint. There were only 480 students and two groups in each grade level, and most families lived in Jurica. We were all neighbors and knew each other well. Our children played together after school, went to the same club and wherever you went in Jurica you saw JFK kids. No High School yet. There was no Auditorium or multipurpose room, all events took place under the blaring sun or under an improvised tent. Students of all ages would carry their chairs from the classrooms so that everyone could sit and watch the presentations. There was a school bus going to San Miguel de Allende to pick up students and many

American teachers as well. The playgrounds did not have many trees nor grass, just dirt or mud, depending on the season. The children’s favorite thing to do was to catch frogs and insects and cut wild flowers. Parents and visitors used to go right into our classrooms without any previous appointment, at any time of the day, all spaces were open and you could see everything from the street. I had two big dogs at home that used to follow me to school and sometimes stayed outside my room until recess… that would be impossible nowadays and highly inappropriate. Discipline was handled in a very different way, students went home every Friday with

I remember I felt so honored when Mr. Jaime López, who was the Board President at that time, asked me if I would consider being in charge of JFK.


a Green, or Yellow or Red Card depending on their behavior during the week. I remember giving quite a few red cards during the years. There was a very small cafeteria with a long line because there was only one person passing sandwiches through a small window; everyone had a good time while we waited in line. What were your initial tasks at the school? I taught First Grade for two years and Pre School for another two years. Miss Pily and I worked together


I am grateful for the confidence placed in me. It is a great responsibility to feel that others expect your decisions to be the right ones.

co-teaching Kinder 1 and became very good friends until this day. Then I was asked to create the Pre –First program …my favorite grade of all. So I moved back to Elementary school. I loved teaching how to read and write and watch children while they discovered the fascinating world of literature. I used to find story books for every topic we learned in class and acted out some of these stories for the parents. We had so much fun sitting under a tree with my little boys and girls while reading Anthony Brown’s books. They are still

my favorite stories. I taught and coordinated Pre-First teachers a couple of years and then became the English Coordinator for all grade levels, I did that for several years until I was appointed as the Elementary Principal. You can see that I had different jobs and I loved them all. When were you appointed General Director? After being the Elementary School Principal for 10 years, I was offered the position of General Director. After much thought, I decided to accept

and I never regretted my decision. That was in 2003. I remember I felt so honored when Mr. Jaime López, who was the Board President at that time, asked me if I would consider being in charge of JFK. A lot of planning and strategic thinking were involved and I begun to develop a vision for the future of JFK. I invited Mr. Chuck Weiss to join me in this venture and together we implemented new programs and services and worked on creating a united school that offered an inviting environment for students, parents

and staff alike. I am very proud of what we accomplished as a team. How has your family supported you in this journey? My family has always been proud of my accomplishments as an educator. When my children were little, we managed to plan and organize our daily activities in a comfortable routine which allowed me to teach and be a Mom at the same time. Years later, I obtained a Master of Arts in International Education and a Master in

I also feel very grateful for having a job in which I felt so happy for so many years

School Administration from Framingham College. It took many long evenings away from home, group studies, projects and some research, but it was all worth it. My family was there to lighten up the load and I believe it was a good example for my daughter and son. Learning is good at any age. Staying current in your profession is a good thing. What are your greatest accomplishments? Finding a balance between discipline and love. As a leader of the school you


care about each individual student but you also have a big responsibility before the whole JFK community. Creating and maintaining a healthy, safe and welcoming environment for all sometimes means having to make tough decisions. You cannot make everyone happy and you need to do what is right, ethical and conducive to the best possible school climate. After all, you are the one that needs to live with your own decisions and maintain your integrity as a leader. During these 10 years as the General Director, I had many difficult conversations but we always ended it with mutual understanding and support, looking for what was best for all involved. Many people have trusted me for years and years and I cannot let them down. Parents were always supportive of my interventions and I treated everyone with respect.

memorable day for me and for the institution. There are so many families that have been in our school for many years and now I see their grandchildren wear the JFK uniform. What excites me and I enjoy the most is seeing alumni that I taught how to read, bringing their little children by the hand, wanting them to also have a nice experience at school. It brings me great satisfaction when they greet me anywhere and I see the fond memories they have of me as a teacher or as Principal. I look forward to my own grandchildren coming to JFK; it will be very soon.

What are you planning to do in this new stage of your life? First, I need to completely recover my health and strength. Then I plan on spending more time with my family, here in Mexico –my children, my grandson and the one that is on the way– and also spend some time What memories in Chile with my family, will stay with with whom I have not spent you forever? much time with for many The little ones’ company, years. In this stage, surely their laughter, their curimy husband and I will find osity and innocence, the many things in common to comments they make. I will occupy ourselves, since we remember the young ones’ wit, their ability to create and are always lacking the time to enjoy our company and achieve goals and seeing that of our friends and famthem grow at the school ily. I also enjoy reading and from their arrival to kinderwriting and hope to resume garten until I gave them their diploma on graduation some personal projects I have put off for a long time. day. It is a very special and 22

I wish to see a school that seeks continuous improvement and that stays at the vanguard of education.

M Y W ISH FOR THE F U T U R E OF E DU C ATION AT J FK That children maintain a sense of wonder, delight and imagination while they are growing up

* * *

That curiosity and creativity permeate all human activity

That students remain lifelong learners and continue to enjoy discovery

That machines and technology never replace teachers and their personal connection to students


That real time, face-to-face communication, is never replaced by virtual interaction

* *

That our school remains a safe haven and strong community

That our young people grow in the company of caring adults and in the presence of lasting friendships

What are you grateful for? I am grateful for the confidence placed in me. It is a great responsibility to feel that others expect your decisions to be the right ones, to be fair, to be consistent and to bring clear expectations. Above all things, that your words coincide with your actions and to take responsibility for what you say and do. I also feel very grateful for having a job in which I felt so happy for so many years; I felt professionally fulfilled and very loved and appreciated. I had the opportunity to grow and study two masters; I learned very much in these 29 years and was also able to teach the knowledge I gained. In a school, everyone teaches and learns; it is a very stimulating environment for all ages. I am grateful for the unique opportunity to work with so many dedicated people with a vocation as educators, interested in education and children. It is a great honor for me to have been able to represent the John F. Kennedy School within our community and abroad. Gratitude and pride; two words that sum up my stay at JFK. I always felt proud to be the Director of our school, to see the accomplishments of our students, to be part of so many wonderful things happening in the classroom, in sports, gardening, theater,

What excites me and I enjoy the most is seeing alumni that I taught how read, bringing their little children by the hand...


I wish to see a school that seeks continuous improvement and that stays at the vanguard of education.

music, academic excellence plement programs, to grow and a real integral education. along with my management team and along each section Who are you and departmental teams. thankful with? I've been a lucky person With the whole JFK commuand a professional who has nity. Each of the members enjoyed very much what she of the Board of Directors I does. worked with believed in me and supported me 100% at all What do you wish times. My colleagues accept- for the Kennedy? ed me, reaffirmed my manI wish to see a school that agement and gave me their seeks continuous improvefriendship and unconditional ment and that stays at the support, even in the most vanguard of education. difficult times. I consider Parents that get involved in myself very lucky and full of their children’s education. blessings and most of them JFK attracting families and happened here at school. teachers that identify themI had so many opportuniselves with the school values ties to try new things, to im- and Model of Education.

Students and alumni that are proud of their school . What are the challenges and opportunities that you foresee for our school in the future? We are constantly talking about the skills needed to function in the 21st Century. What does that mean for our students? Some of the challenges are: preparing students for a fast moving world that demands new skills and educating young minds that can devise solutions for emerging needs in an unpredictable world. Another challenge for the

future involves learning new ways to interact and collaborate with others through the use of technology in an ethical manner. Schools are about PEOPLE, that is what makes them challenging and interesting. JFK is always educating minds and hearts, it is not an easy task but it is a beautiful journey. JFK will continue offering a well rounded education through innovative programs, good planning and committed professionals. I would like to see each of our students become a self motivated lifelong learner. What are your

recommendations to continue the work that you started? First of all, the school is a solid institution with a strong history of tradition and innovation and a clear mission and vision. The school community needs to appreciate the efforts made to maintain academic rigor, biculturalism, high level of English and support a safe and a respectful environment. That is what our mission states and it is not only words. The general Director, the Board of Directors, administrators, teachers, staff, students and their families

I dedicate these ten years to my leadership team, teachers and staff. I am so proud of you!

have the responsibility to maintain the long standing reputation as the best school in the area. It has taken many years to build it but it can be a fragile victory. I hope JFK is a better place after these ten years in my position… ten exciting years of great experiences, hard work and collaboration from all of us who have worked here. I dedicate these ten years to my leadership team, teachers and staff. I am so proud of you!

17 años asegurando al JFK... dice mucho de nosotros.

Adquiere un Seguro de Educación

Sin importar lo que pase... nosotros nos encargamos de que tus hijos terminen sus estudios.

josé ramón vela 24

calle del rio 107 · residencial calesa 2nda sección · Querétaro tel oficina 2233418 · 2134381 · celular 442 1 81 71 45


My dream is

COVER STORY Class of '05

not working



President, my


dream is to be able

fter a very successful academic and professional journey you find yourself, at a very young age, in a position of great transcendence and responsibility.

to help others, to

Did you ever imagine that you would become an advisor to the President? Was this your dream? No, I never thought I would work for this administration because I was working for former President Calderon at the International Media Analysis Bureau and the last day of his Presidency I resigned. One month later they offered me this position in the President's Council of Advisors. Actually, I never imagined working for the Presidency at all. When I came to Mexico City, three years ago, I had 26

this idea of working at an Embassy or a Ministry but I never thought the Presidency was a possibility. My dream is not working for a President, my dream is to be able to help others, to create a better Mexico, create better opportunities and better conditions for the people in this country. And I know this is just the beginning and that there is an infinite amount of things that could be done…


In general I work an average of 14 hours a day. All of my work is related to the President’s agenda so it varies every day...

create a better Mexico 27


I have the greatest memories from JFK, all of them are good... It was definitively the best school ever!

What were the main waking up at 4 o’clock in the steps of the journey that The languages morning because I had to be led you there? I have learned at my office at 5 am. WorkFirst, I think the IB Diploma, have been big ing on weekends was hard then completing my Bacheassets. English because I felt I could not enjoy my family or friends. lor’s Degree in International at the JFK of Other challenges have been Relations at the Universidad course, I also working under pressure all de las Américas in Puebla. Afstudied French terwards, two Internships, the the time and managing tight in Paris... I deadlines. Finally, due to first one in the UK Trade & Instudied Italian the responsibilities I have, vestment in the British Emand Portuguese I need to avoid making bassy in Mexico and the secwhile at the mistakes because they could ond in the Ministry of Foreign University. have major consequences. Relations. I think the languages I have learned have been What is your day big assets. English at JFK of to day like? course, I also studied French The IB Diploma In general I work an average in Paris and enrolled for a sewas a great of 14 hours a day. All of my mester at the Université de preparation work is related to the PresiMontréal, which strengthin every way, dent’s agenda so it varies evened my multicultural underespecially the ery day depending if there is standing, comprehension and workload! a State visit, a speech on any fluency. I studied Italian and subject, an event, a convenPortuguese while at the Unition he will attend, a forum, versity. And the final step to To girls and the filming of a TV spot, or where I am now, was my first something else. My main acboys I would job as a media analyst which tivities are: provide informasay follow your I mentioned in the previous tion and data that is required question. dreams and for his activities, decision do what you making and construction of What challenges were love the most messages. Likewise, detect you faced with? and never possible problematic issues At first, leaving my family let anyone and future problems in order and my friends; then, in discourage you to make recommendations, my previous job position, 28

CHALLENGE proposing innovative ideas for social projects, drafting reports and briefings on important news, among other things. You were also an accomplished professional dancer. Is classic ballet still a part of your life? How did art help you become who you are now? Unfortunately, not any more. I was a member of Queretaro’s Classical Ballet Company and along with my bachelor’s degree, I finished a Dance Certificate at the UDLA Puebla. Now, I have not been able to find a suitable advanced class for adults near my house or my office that accommodates my schedule, but I am still searching [laughs]. How did your Kennedy experience prepare you for how you are living now? The Kennedy experience gave me important tools; a bilingual education has opened many doors. It also taught me to have my own opinions and to be able to stand by them, to

question what I hear and read, to investigate, and to analyze. I think all of these tools are the foundations of everything I have done and accomplished later on. Moreover, the IB Diploma was a great preparation in every way, especially the workload! [laughing]. What do you miss most about the school? I miss everything! I have the greatest memories from JFK, all of them are good. I miss having fun with my classmates, laughing about silly stuff all the time. I miss my friends and my teachers, who were awesome, and I miss the molletes which were so good [laughing out loud]. It was definitively the best school ever! And I am going to sound so old but not having the responsibility of a job. What would you say to little girls who are just starting their journey at the school and to those who are preparing to graduate? To girls and boys, I would say follow your dreams

and do what you love the most and never let anyone discourage you from what you like or who you want to become. Because if you love what you do and you are happy with the life you have chosen, building it will be much easier. To the little ones, just to be happy all the time. If you do not like something, you can change it and if you fail, you can start again. Try as many times as possible. To those who are going to graduate, I would tell them to enjoy every day of the next years at the university because they are fantastic. What comes after high school is not going to be easy but it is definitely worth it. Keep in mind that you alone are responsible for the quality of your life and that money is not the only thing that matters. As John Whittier said: “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'it might have been’.”

A demanding situation that tests our abilities or resources, it is an opportunity to prove yourself and to learn, understand, and if necessary to change. A challenge most likely will bring you closer to your goals regardless if they are personal or professional.


Love and support. My parents are my role models, my main supporters to always dream big and aim for the stars. They taught me never to give up and always set your mind on what you wish to accomplish. My brother has always motivated me to be better.


s home, wonderful beautiful country, diversity, cultural and social richness, happiness.

SUCCE SS Accomplishin

g your professional and personal goals which I believe should be in tune with your dreams. To me, success is defined by the courage and the effort with which you face the challenges you encounter, not necessarily the result.


Reconcile your personal life and your professional life because both are of the utmost importance. Balance in everything is the key to happiness. 29




Enseña * Aprende * Organiza * Analiza * Crea * Planea


50 Years of JFK History… and You Are a Special Part of It!


ennedy is proud to be nearing our 50th Anniversary, something we will be celebrating all school year long. Why limit ourselves to a one-time party that´s done in the blink of an eye? It´s taken 50 years to get to where we are today, and we plan on making a big deal of it! So, beginning in September, our 50th year includes a celebration campaign that spans across the 2014-2015 school year. And by no means are we just celebrating where we are today. As our slogan states, “Honoring our past, taking pride in our present, building our future,” we want to honor the great people and moments of our past as well.

That´s where you come in… As JFK alumni, you are a very treasured part of our community. And we want to make sure you come and celebrate your Alma mater´s anniversary too. So, here´s a list of great opportunities for you to do just that. We hope you will join us in as many of these fun celebratory events as possible. And please stay tuned to the JFK Alumni Facebook page (Exalumnos Kennedy) for more info as we get closer to date. And lastly, if you find great photos or relics of your years as a Kennedy kid, please share them with the rest of us. Please contact Cristina at for historical content.

Virginia Grace Watkins 50th Anniversary Leadership Team Head of Annual Campaign & Alumni Relations 30

Sept 20 Commemorative Opening Celebration: Exclusive Alumni Cocktails Social A special event held only for alumni, while located in and providing a tour of our brand new facilities!

Nov 27 High School Battle of the Bands Concert and Food Drive

Dec 1 High School´s Red & Blue Day A few spaces are left for the exclusive opportunity for alumni to compete alongside the students in one of your favorite Kennedy past times! (E-mail ASAP to reserve one of those last spots.)

March ASOMEX sports competitions Come cheer on your Jaguars as we host games against rival American schools!

Mar 21 Kermess 2015 The Kermess will provide an anniversary “golden touch” with an art silent auction!

May 22 50th Commemorative Closing Celebration: Golden Gala

June 14

TALLERES PARA ADULTOS ➽ Certificación Buzan con validez en todo el mundo

Primer taller 1º, 8 y 15 de julio Segundo taller 29 de julio 5 y12 de agosto

6 pm a 10 pm Plaza El Pinar Muy cerca del JFK

TALLER PARA FUTUROS UNIVERSITARIOS Sé el "Novato del año" al comenzar éste nuevo capítulo en tu vida. Toma este seminario de 16hr y obtén las herramientas que te volverán invencible en la universidad.

➽ Mapas Mentales ➽ Buzan Organic Study Techniques ➽ Certificación Buzan con validez en todo el mundo. FECHAS Junio 18 y 25 Julio 2 y 9

10 am a 2 pm Plaza El Pinar Muy cerca del JFK

¡No pierdas esta oportunidad!





mencionaNTO este anunndo cio

Family Fun Run 2015 A communitywide event that promotes fitness and an active lifestyle, even for your dog!




JFK Times Spring 2014  
JFK Times Spring 2014