Rodrigo Garza Urquiza Class 05’
JOHN F. KENNEDY · THE AMERICAN SCHOOL OF QUERÉTARO
FALL 2010 VOL. 1 NO. 6
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
Charles Weiss M.Ed., MA ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT
Debra Cortney MA PRE–SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
Mark Dunn M.Ed., MA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
Tara Fitzgerald Ed. Admin., MS MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
Adrian Leece MA, BSc, FRMtS HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
Teachers RNER STAFF CO d n
Teachers a ea Staff receiv g re e e D s r´ Maste
ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR
C.P. Josefina Morgan M. Admon. y Finanzas FINANCIAL DIRECTOR
Lic. Roberto Loyola Vera; Act. Maria del Mar Sánchez Rull; Ing. Ángel de Lope Friedeberg; Lic. Maria Antonieta Cuellar Minguet; Arq. Rodolfo Vega Fricke; Arq. Mathew Schmidt Covo; C.P. Benito Adolfo Tagle Jiménez.
A New Multi– Purpose Cour t For All!
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Lic. Mónica Duarte Balcárcel
EDITOR IN CHIEF AND CHAIR OF THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Charles Weiss; Janine Galan, Erika Lastra, NilliSilberstein, Min Su Kim, Adrian Leece, Arturo Bustamante, Mónica Duarte, Karla Ríos.
f e at u r e
Héctor Muñoz DESIGN
Karla Ríos, Víctor Ortega, Asbed Levi PHOTOGRAPHY
Valeria Fagiolani http://alumni.jfk.edu.mx ADVERTISING SALES
ni Connecting with Alum
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 31 32
Letter fr om The Gene ra Director l
BRUNO RODRÍGUEZ RICARDO URQUIZA ENRIQUE FAUSTO
Karla Ríos Tel. (442) 218 0075 ext. 1010 firstname.lastname@example.org
AcademicCorner OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS BY OUR FACULTY OR STUDENTS
Our alumni play an important role in the life and history of the John F. Kennedy School. They carry the success of this institution around the world as part of this Grand Kennedy Community. Their special connection and ongoing contributions of time and support provide an inspiration to us all. This edition highlights the Alumni Breakfast held here as part of our 45th Anniversary celebration. So many alumni,from far and wide, found their way back to the school for a delightful reunion and a chance to visit the campus once again. We value our graduates and will continue through this publication, our alumni web site, and Facebook to remain in touch. Plans are expanding to bring alumni even closer through direct involvement in ongoing school activities. Another article in this edition highlights our Habitat for Humanity project. This year marks the first time that alumni have been invited to join in this important work. We welcome their participation. The feature story in this edition of our JFK Times is about our American accreditation with
Mirtha Stappung M.Ed., MA General Director
advanced, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (sacs casi). Although we are also accredited by the Mexican government through its Department of Education (sep), and with the International Baccalaureate Organization (ibo), we are especially proud of our membership in this exclusive American organization. Membership in sacs casi supports our efforts to be a school of quality. Their guidelines for accreditation help to drive our improvement efforts and contribute in so many ways to ensure that we continue to provide a world class education for our students. A new project of the school is to launch an annual school campaign. This year we focus upon the goal of creating a multi-purpose athletic court. This project requires community funding and we do hope that graduates will also be able to contribute to this campaign. Our motto for this year, “Unity makes us strong– Together we are better”, certainly includes all of our alumni. We know that they form an important pillar of strength within the community. Do keep in touch.
A Global Approach to Succeed in a Multicultural Setting By: Janie Galan Grade 10 English Teacher and Erika Lastra College Counselor
The quality of our graduates is recognized by many local and national colleges who make special concessions for them.
Student Profile Whether planning to attend college in Mexico or abroad, our students at JFK are not only prepared to meet the academic requirements, but the student profile alone makes them very attractive candidates for admission. JFK’s school−wide emphasis on diversity, character development, and values produces students that are committed and respectful individuals who possess the tools to succeed in a multicultural setting.
ing certain skills and traits. JFK is focused on developing leadership skills and a commitment to community service through different programs, conferences, and activities. Students that take advantage of these different opportunities enrich their résumé and hence become more attractive candidates for colleges.
Concessions made by Colleges The quality of our graduates is recognized by many local and national colleges who make special concessions for them. In order to reFostering Leadership Skills cruit our students they waive admission testing and Commitment to Community Service requirements and fees, travel to our campus to JFK is always looking for ways to enrich the students’ educational experience by promoting offer on–site admission testing, and set aside our school values and simultaneously develop- a number of scholarships for our students. 3
Advantages of Our Curriculum Studying at JFK also facilitates the process for studying abroad. Because our students graduate with a valid US High School diploma, there is no need to notarize or certify their transcripts thereby making the admission process smooth and timely. JFK students have the privilege of completing the International Baccalaureate which is considered one of the most
Focus on Effective Essay Writing One of the most common challenges students face in the admission and scholarship application processes, both in Mexico and the US, is writing college essays. Usually colleges will request that applicants write a short personal essay on a specific topic or on a topic chosen by the student. The purpose of the essay is for the college admissions or financial aid officer
Every year JFK hosts a College Fair with representatives from colleges in Mexico, U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
rigorous programs worldwide. Holding an IB diploma weighs favorably on admissions decisions. Additionally, some colleges offer special scholarships for outstanding IB graduates. Standardized Tests Another unique advantage our students have is the opportunity to take the Preliminary sat (psat), Test of English as a Foreign Language (toefl), and sat tests on campus. The psat and toefl are preparation tests, while the sat is an official test for college admissions. As a matter of fact, JFK is the only official testing center for the sat in Queretaro. 4
to obtain insight on the individualâ€™s character and personality. The essay holds great value as it is the only document in which the studentâ€™s voice is heard. The JFK English curriculum focuses on effective essay writing, thus preparing the students to succeed in delivering high quality college essays. It is common practice for students all over the world to have several people revise the essay before submitting the final copy. Students at JFK are fortunate to have highly qualified teachers willing to aid in the revision process during their free time. Now this is what we call commitment!
As a matter of fact, JFK is the only official testing center for the SAT in Queretaro.
The College Counselor The process of applying to college and seeking out scholarships can be quite daunting to any high school student. Having someone to guide them through the process is definitely an advantage. JFK students have a resource available to them on campus on a daily basisâ€” their college counselor. One college may not be the right college for every student, just like one student may not be right for every college. Finding the right match is one of the many tasks the college counselor helps the student complete. Our college counselor spends countless hours guiding our students through the college admissions maze. Students have many questions and doubts about this important step in their education and they can certainly feel more confident when they have someone they can rely on for guidance. Annual College Fair Students may or may not know which college they would like to attend. Therefore it is vital for them to research different options before making a final choice. Every year JFK hosts a College Fair with representatives from colleges in Mexico, U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Students have the opportunity to talk with over 90 college admission officers and college representatives one on one. This is a
great opportunity for the students and their parents to gain perspective on the different colleges, the academic programs, and the scholarship opportunities available. Comments from college representatives about our students have been consistently positive both regarding their academic standings and their profile, and they are enthusiastic about returning to JFK year after year. Visits to College Campuses As a result of the relationships fostered between JFK and the colleges, opportunities arise for some of our most outstanding students to visit college campuses around the world with all expenses paid. The purpose of these visits is for the students to interview with college admission officers and to get a feel for life at those colleges. 5
Community Habitat for Humanity a Home for Many and a New Story for Many More
THE JFK SPIRIT
By: Nilli Silberstein
Expanding Habitat Jose, one of the leaders in the community sits down next to me as the community and the students sit down at the long table to enjoy a warm meal. Even though hours have been spent in the hot sun building the house, the noise level rises as they laugh and talk about life, and Jose has to raise his voice to tell me his story. The students sit around me and the community members, with their bowls of hot chicken soup and rice resting on the wooden table and the freshly made tortillas sit rolled
g to Habitat for Humanity oru.mx. If you are interested in donatin ase email email@example.com participating in the project, plei are group. Students, Parents and alumn welcome to join our in their hands. Jose’s house is one of the three houses we are working on this weekend. Don Jose is 24, married to Maria de Jesus with one son, Jesus Eric who is three years old. He smiles as he talks about his job at a small business in Celaya. A few other men from the community gather around and sit on the floor around me ready to tell their stories and listen to mine. As students and community members sit close together around the table and Jose and I remain immersed in our conversation, there is no division between genders, social class, or city of birth. The community is never hesitant to open their arms to us, share their stories, their food and their love. Habitat for Humanity is an organization that originated in 1976 and now extends to the remotest corners of the earth. It is a non-profit organization that seeks to eradicate homelessness in the 90 countries it participates in, one house at a time. The John F Kennedy American School of Queretaro has participated by sending 11 and 12th grade students to build homes in Guanajuato for the past 5 years.
Construction is not the only activity that is done in the community. The social service combines helping the community build homes, sharing dinner with them, and leading workshops in nutrition, self-esteem, soccer and cooking. Students step onto the bus feeling that they are going to make a difference, and get back on the bus having changed their way of thinking and realizing how much we can learn from other people. Aura Romero, a 12th grader states that “People feel swell and understood and the community has the advantage of being noticed and supported, it’s beautiful to see humans helping humans.” Ana Paula Villasenor, a 12th grade JFK student explains that “Sometimes when doing social service, we believe that our work is insignificant and doesn’t make a real difference. By being here, you realize that even if you are not able to build a hundred houses with your own hands, the fact that these people feel they are being paid attention to is very motivating. They want to know that we care, and that does make the difference.”
The social service combines helping the community build homes, sharing dinner with them, and leading workshops in nutrition, selfesteem, soccer and cooking.
Habitat is a great program that helps improve the community, but more importantly yo u automatically become a lotu.mYo conscious about how you canorbee the difference. Enrique Rubio
I thought the community was everyman for himself but that is 100% wrong, the way they interact with each other is just fascinating. Alejandro Mier y Teran When I talked with a young man he explained how much they appreciate our help. He went twice to Wisconsin as an illegal immigrant. He worked in the U.S. for 13 years and made lots of money. Two years ago he got his papers in the U.S. and now he can work and travel legally. For people like us it is really easy to get things. We havenâ€™t got real challenges. People in these communities really need to take risks in order to get money and have a better life. Santiago Taracena
We work on building hous will later be a home, this ises,somwhethiching incredible for people with few resources, having their own house. Daniel Castro 8
way of thinking. This project has chanmgeed amviyew into the real world The project has given zone. I have become aware of outside of my comforthave in these towns. The story the problems people how they crossed into the that I heard about to these problems. US opened my eyes Enrique Bernal 9
Students THEY HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY
Our Students Join the National Honor Society
An organization of which I am now a proud member By: Min Su Kim
However, there was an important responsibility for us; to provide social service support to a local charity. 10
The first time I was called in as a candidate for the National Honor Society (NHS), I was honestly dazzled by what I was getting into. None of my friends knew what the NHS was, and yet, there we were a handful of what I deduced to be the top students of High School. Although I had not yet been able to entirely fathom what NHS was, something about the society made me increasingly attracted to it. There was a certain feeling of pride that engulfed us all. By the end of that same day I had set a new goal: no matter what, I would be a part of this.
The NHS elects its members based on Scholarship, Leadership, Service and Character. So what is the NHS? Well, it is a society in the United States in which only top students from each school are eligible for membership based on four criteria, Scholarship, Leadership, Service and Character and we, the students from the JFK, were now a part of it! The mere thought of it made me (and I am sure the others as well) seriously consider the honor for which we had been elected. However, there was an important responsibility for us; to provide social service support to a local charity. Fortunately, our NHS advisor, Mr. Heath, helped us with our first project: a Bike-a-thon.
of an amazing 33,000 pesos, and there was still money unaccounted for! Many more people had gathered for the Bike- a- thon than I had contemplated. Many NHS members brought either a family member or friends to participate in the event. The people from the food bank were jocundly watching us run/ride for a full 45 minutes. Most didn’t give in to tiredness and some had seemingly endless endurance! It was such a successful event, in which the final count for the money gathered from our sponsors was 39,000 pesos and 150 kilos of food. Amazing! Finally, I will never forget the day that I was inducted into the NHS. We, the candidates, The Bike-a-thon, a tiny project that were formally dressed and inaugurated as became a huge reality In May 2010 the NHS members ran around the members of the JFK Chapter of the NHS. Although it was a rather small ceremony, since track earning donations from sponsors who only members, parents, and teachers were indonated a specified amount of money per lap, vited, it was still a very memorable night. Every which was then given to “Alimentos Para la Vida”, a Food Bank in Queretaro that helps feed member had the honor to be welcomed into the needy communities. With the help of Mr. Heath NHS by a teacher or staff member through a and the enthusiasm from everyone, we made a speech. I was inaugurated by Robert Callahan, a member of the NHS. He presented to me a seemingly tiny project become a huge reality. During the preparation process, I experienced a most eloquent speech, mesmerizing me. Only gradual change in my enthusiasm; from heavy then was I ready to stand on high ground and proudly say: I am a member of the John F. Kenthoughts to the greatest expectations. The expected earnings for the Bike-a-thon neared that nedy National Honor Society.
It was such a successful event, in which the final count for the money gathered from our sponsors was 39,000 pesos and 150 kilos of food. Amazing! 11
A FOCUS ON OUR STAFF
Teachers and Staff receive a Master´s Degree for International Educators from Buffalo State University By: Adrian Lecce
In June the JFK was proud to host a special graduation ceremony for 25 of our teachers and staff that had just completed their studies for the title of Master’s Degree for International Educators, from Buffalo State University, New York. Here is an excerpt from the speech made at that ceremony by Adrian Leece, our High School Principal.
worried if there is silence! For a community of learners such differences are enormous. Each section now has a carefully planned curriculum. In High School this means 70 courses are planned, with precise objectives, and aligned to internationally agreed standards of education. Teachers still have the flexibility to teach how they teach best, but what they are teaching serves a much grander plan I hear people say that if you went back 100 than before. Each subject, each unit, and each years the only thing you would find that hasn’t topic aligns itself to program spanning Pre− changed is the classroom. School to High School. Such alignment, such Well, that simply isn’t true at JFK. sense of purpose does not happen by accident, We have taken old things like grading stu(and in many schools it doesn’t happen at all!), dents’ work, and learned instead how to assess but here at JFK we have achieved this mainly progress and evaluate effort. There are fewer through the drive, determination and guidance exams now and more formative and summative of all of you in this Master’s program. assessments and students often evaluate their Not only have we found new ways to do the own progress against rubrics. Not long ago old things, but we have also found completely students sat in rows and teachers spent their new things to do. Many teachers around the days pleading for silence. Now they sit in small school now have their spaces on the internet. groups helping each other learn, and we get We have learned about blogs and wiki’s, and 12
“Not only have we found new ways to do the old things, but we have also found completely new things to do.”
many such tools and techniques are now incorporated into different subjects around the school. Then there is the individual research that we have undertaken, a list of which would be too long and rich to discuss in detail here. But as a general overview, there are studies on various teaching strategies which will directly improve our understanding of how students can learn better. There are studies on the use of various forms of technology to build better and more interesting classes, preparing students with appropriate skills for the 21st century. Other studies take a broader look at what we do, considering the value of programs such as Mentoring, which will help us improve these critical areas. Yet others look at issues such as the factors influencing parental choice of schools, and on how to build better communication links between the school and its alumni. Some have investigated statistical links and correlations between standardized tests to use as predictors of success to help us modify curriculum. And yet others have investigated how to provide
more effective professional development, so that we can keep on improving the school through our own professionalism. And finally, I know that these words have not done justice to explain what we have all learned, or the impact that it is already having here at school, but there is something even more than these details that has happened since we began to study together. We have each become better educators in our own ways. We each go about our daily work with children in a clearer, more confident and more enlightened way. We have become more aware of where the opportunities exist to improve classes and improve the educational experience of this whole community. And, what is also so wonderful is that we all do this with a greater sense of teamwork. We are building this school together, from the inside out and the outside in, from Pre−School to High School and High School to Pre−School. And this experience, this sense of identity, this heightened awareness of what a school community is really about, will continue to help move JFK from Good to Great.
“We have become more aware of where the opportunities exist to improve classes and improve the educational experience of this whole community.”
Athlete of the Year Award
SPORTS PROVIDING SUPPORT FOR OUR MODEL OF EDUCATION
Jaguar Day By: Arturo Bustamante
Of all of the celebrations that take place in our school, few represent our character and values so much as Jaguar Day. This is the event where all of us; teachers, students and staff, get together to mark the official start of our annual sports program. This year Jaguar Day took place on October 1, and as we have done for more than 11 years, we gathered to celebrate the start of our after school athletic programs. Another reason that we assembled was to promote the all important lessons found when a student gives one hundred percent of their energy and enthusiasm to their sport.
Jaguar Day helps us to remember that selfdiscipline, team work, and the ability to follow thru on commitments, make us better persons and helps to prepare us to succeed in life.
Jaguar Day helps us to remember that selfdiscipline, team work, and the ability to follow thru on commitments, make us better persons and helps to prepare us to succeed in life. This is the reason why, on this day, we also take the opportunity to honor students who have excelled as athletes. After the ceremonies honoring our students, Jaguar Day continued with a great number of activities geared not only to awakening our spirit of participation, but also to have plain and simple fun! Raffles, and an escalating wall, with school band playing in the background, were just some of the activities planned for each section of our school. Jaguar Day came to an end like it always does; leaving us with a sense of friendship, community and belonging that has always made JFK so special.
We were proud to present, for the second year in a row, our “Jaguar Athlete of the Year” award. The last recipients were Karime Esper Cook and Enrique Rodríguez Lomeli. Congratulations to both! As we do each year, we presented our new uniforms to student athletes with the reminder that the uniform can help us to remember at all times the responsibility and pride that comes with wearing our school’s colors. We also had the opportunity to talk about the Annual School Campaign. This year the campaign is focused upon the construction of a new multipurpose court that will allow JFK to open its doors to basketball and other tournaments. It was also announced that we will host the asomex volleyball championship here on campus that is scheduled for February 2011.
President’s Active Lifestyle Award On Jaguars Day, we were happy to deliver, for the first time in our school, special Presidential Awards granted to a group of our students by the U.S. President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports; a Committee appointed by the American President to promote a healthy lifestyle. Our students won this honor by their participation in “The Active Lifestyle Program”, which required them to enroll in a yearlong challenge to improve their physical fitness in preparation for a series of standardized test measuring their resistance, force, speed and flexibility. The successes of this new activity led to an increasing number of students wanting to participate in this challenge during this academic year. The recipients of this important recognition were: Pamela Genoveva Castellanos Martínez Luis Javier Gómez Urquiza Manuel Ordóñez Fernández Pablo Ordóñez Fernández Juan Carlos Peralta Palma Felipe Serrano Hoogsteyns Adriano Alberto SarfatiBinetti Christian Manuel Duana Velásquez
JFK On The Move WHAT ARE WE UP TO?
The New Middle School Building
A great effort of collaboration On October 25th we had the great satisfaction of inaugurating our new Middle School Building; a milestone that we can all feel proud of, because it presented many challenges that required our whole community to come together to overcome. The participation of a great team, which included the Members of the Board of Directors, three separate companies who took charge of generating, constructing and supervising the architectural project, and the support from students, parents, teachers and staff, turned this challenge into a successful reality. 16
Plataforma de Arquitectura was the company in charge of architectural design, Indusa acted as general contractor for the job and Cubica 1000 took on the supervision of the whole project, in an effort without parallel in our schoolâ€™s history, because of the professional, transparent and efficient way in which it was carried out. Our new Middle School building provides a modern platform where our 21th students can learn and live in state of the art spaces and with state of the art technology. Its 3,881.00 m2 house 17 classrooms, admin-
...it presented many challenges that required our whole community to come together to overcome.
istrative areas, a visual arts complex, a space devoted to music and arts, an ecology workshop, a multipurpose conference room, and a computer and media lab, aside from offering teachers and students an adequate place to learn, relax and enjoy time together. In addition to all this, the building was designed to be environmentally friendly. Its main faĂ§ade consists of a green wall that provides improved insulation on heat, and it is ready to receive solar cells to provide energy for illumination in the near future. These friendly, safe and inviting spaces are designed to boost the physical and emotional
development of our middle school students, fostering teamwork and allowing teachers to organize better their schedules and their classrooms. Not only are classrooms equipped with an intercom system that allows a better communication, but the building has plenty of space that will make it easier to plan and organize interdisciplinary team projects. Our Middle School building is proof of a strong community willing to make things better an effort at a time. We invite the JFK community at large to continue contributing to our school with a generous spirit. We know see the great things we can do when we work together.
... gn ai
ual Ca n n A m t p rs A New Multi– Purpose Court For All!
If you wish to make a donation to our campaign, this is our account number.
By: Mónica Duarte
his year we are launching an Annual Campaign to improve some element of our campus on a yearly basis. Each year will find us focusing upon one project to complete. Aside from having the satisfaction of watching our school improve, step-by-step, this effort makes evident to our community that we can do great things when we work together. This campaign is designed so that everyone can take part in it and share in the excitement of reaching the goal that we have set out to achieve. All of the income from the Christmas Bazaar, from our annual Kermes and other events are designated to be used for this annual campaign project. The selection of a specific project to focus
The objective of our Annual Campaign 2010 − 2011
Name: Escuela John F. Kennedy A.C. Bank: BBVA Bancomer CLABE: 012 680 001 709 099 635 Account Number: 017 090 9963 e v e ry d o nat i o n coun t s!
upon is largely based on the goals set by our Master Building Plan, but it also may be focused upon needs and requirements that arise as our students take on new challenges. That is why our 2010-2011 Annual Campaign will be focused upon building a new multi-purpose athletic court that will make our school eligible to participate as a home court for basketball tournaments and other large events. We already have the design ready for the new court and are planning on initiating the first stage of construction with an approximate cost of $1,500,000.00 pesos. To help make this Annual Campaign a success we have added a new event to our calendar: A JFK golf tournament! This activity
... a new multi-purpose athletic court that will make our school eligible to participate as a home court for basketball tournaments and other large events.
will give us yet another chance to unite our community in a shared activity that not only benefits our Annual Campaign but also creates another opportunity for our community to meet in a social context. We hope that our Thanksgiving Golf Tournament will become a cherished JFK tradition. We call upon your support and generosity to help us to reach the goal of our Annual Campaign. Unity makes us Strong — Together we are Better! 19
ACCREDITED SCHOOLS ENJOY A RANGE OF BENEFITS By: Charles Weiss
Special thanks go to the dedicated community members who studied the seven standards, fifty-six indicators and ninety−eight questions in the report. Study Team Leaders
Danielle Witchet, Heath Sparrow, Tara Fitzgerald, Adrian Leece, Ceci Flores, Mark Dunn and Debra Cortney.
American accreditation is highly valued by the school, knowing that their standards are applied on a world-wide basis. Our agency is called advanced that includes the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (sacs casi). One hundred and twenty-five schools in Latin America and the Caribbean have certification. Eleven of the American Schools of Mexico (asomex) are advanced accredited. When universities and colleges, here in Mexico and around the world, see that student applicants come from an advanced certified school, they know that their education has met very high standards. An annual compliance report and internal review are done before an accreditation team visits the school every five years. We host their visit in March of 2011. We actually did not wait for five years for an internal review, but evaluated our school two years ago. The improvement recommendations resulted in new school activities to raise our standards. As you can see there are many good 20
When universities and colleges, here in Mexico and around the world, see that student applicants come from an AdvancED certified school, they know that their education has met very high standards.
reasons for us to maintain our membership in advanced. We strive to maintain our position as the best option for education in the area. Together we are better! The internal study focused upon the school vision and purpose, governance and leadership, teaching and learning, documenting and using results, resource and support systems, stakeholder communication and relationships, and commitment to continuous improvement. They found most of our systems to be highly functional; the highest level possible. A copy of their findings is on file in the Library/Media Center for review by the public.
Yolanda Lomelin, Denalih Torres, Dorothy Gerhart, Christopher Sanabria, Carmen Brea, Luz Cobos, Ma. Tere Soto, Maureen Cornell, Sarah Devries, Shereca Rose, Patricia Ríos, Maricela Rivera, Ángela Partida, Mary Beny Álvarez, Bob Callahan, Pilar González, Paola Serrano, Michael Blasiak, Patricia Samano, Caroline Leblanc, Guadalupe Castillo, Georgina Frías, Janie Galan, Patty Muller, William Hodges, Jennifer Trentman, Pilar Lombana, Claudia Palma, Toby Williams, Fausto Cerda, Joseph Katzakian, Nick Konopa, Bernadette Barquet, Malena Chapa, Michelle Filisola, Mónica Moctezuma, Ana Julia Flores, David Wahartnaby, Mónica Guerra, Araceli Pantoja, Begoña Palacios, Clarisa Martinez, Sarah Anderson, Emily Wilken, Ana Luisa Medina, Debra Saunderson, Gabriela Madrid, Carina Gonzalez, Mayra Garcia, Felicia Lyons, Patricia Araujo.
Sergio Olvera, Marisa Ochoa, Gustavo Medina, Romy Schmetzer, Cristina Pérez, Mónica Duarte, Ana Luisa Torres.
Paulina Guerra, Andrés Linares, Jordi Mas, Carla Ruiz, Christian Duana, Renata Gómez, Helmut Barrosa.
Inge Rosenszweig, Gabriela Zaldívar, Julia Ward, Mónica Barrera, Claudia Botle, Cynthia Jiménez, María de la Luz Castellanos.
An Interview by Mónica Duarte · Editor in Chief
Hello Rodrigo, thanks for allowing us to share some of your story with our JFK Times readers. What made you choose Mechanical Engineering as a career? I chose Mechanical Engineering as a Major in my university studies because it gives you tools to solve the world’s problems. I thought that I could use my knowledge and skills to do something that really matters and would have an impact on generations to come. Why did you choose to study in the United States, and how did you decide which university to attend to? I decided to study abroad when I joined the IB program. I wanted to make the most of the diploma. And one of the reasons I chose Texas
A&M University was because my father studied there. I applied to six other universities in the United States and finally chose this one because it is the public university with the best engineering programs in the nation. What has been your major challenge since you’ve been studying there? Moving away from your family and friends is a challenge. But it was less of a challenge than people think it is. I studied at JFK since I was very young and so everything came naturally to me over there. I was perfectly comfortable getting along with other people, speaking in English, taking courses, etc. You’ve received several awards & honors. How did you achieve this? When I was here a JFK, having good grades helped me get a 40% scholarship and this motivated me to go ahead and give that extra effort.
50 70 90 110 130 150 170 190 210 230 250 270 290 130 330 350 370 390 410 430 450 470 490
When I got to Texas A&M I decided I really wanted to get a scholarship. So, I decided to focus on academics, while maintaining my well−being, remaining centered and balance. I also decided to join organizations, become involved, become a leader. The first organization that I joined was the Mexican Student Association. Then, I started attending a bigger organization called the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, which was more related to my field. Going beyond academics and becoming involved in the university is very well seen as a way for being granted scholarships and awards. Each of the awards I received motivated me to try even harder and to get involved in more activities, such as sports organizations. Doing community service is also a very well respected activity. How does it feel to be the leader of an organization? It feels great, by now in the Mexican Student Association, we have about one-hundred and fifty members and twenty-five officers that I am in charge of. We now have have a strong Committee which focuses on community service and also a Committee to get people more involved in the organization, to have members who are more reactive and attend more events. It feels very good to make a difference. Do you have a major and minor area of studies? Yes, I am studying Mechanical Engineering as a Major and I am also studying Business Administration as a Minor. The classes that I like most are the ones that combine business and engineering. In the future, I would like to be a part of an engineering business. One of my favorite subjects is called the engineer seminar. This is where company leaders from really big companies in the US, and alumni that graduated from my University, come 24
and speak to us about their experiences. Some of them are either really successful in academics and research and others graduated with an engineering degree and then did an mba. This is one of my favorite classes because, if you have someone who tells you it can be done, you know that you can do it too. How do you see your life in the future? Do you see yourself coming back to Mexico? How can you bring back all your new knowledge to your country? When I began my studies, I decided I needed to do internships to understand what the mechanical engineering field was all about. Just recently, I accepted an offer to join a company -a medium size engineering company- which focuses in designing applications for water systems, food processing companies and chemical companies, among other things. The vision I had was that, in five or six years, I could work in the office they have in Mexico. Right now, the company is working on a contract with Mexico City to improve all their water systems. This is just one of the applications where I could have an impact. How can you contribute to JFK as an alumni? I think I can help JFK by motivating its students. I would invite them to take a chance, to look for an opportunity to study a semester or a summer abroad. I would highly recommend IB students to take the sat elective course.* Good sat scores open a lot of doors. Also, when I become successful, I would like to help JFK by giving something back.
* This course is available to any High School student and provides test preparation for the When you think about JFK, what comes to your mind? SAT, PSAT, TOEFL I think JFK prepares everybody that graduates and college from here, to become a future leader. You can essay writing see this as early as Elementary School. They strategies
CR AI G BR OWN O UTSTA N D I N G S E N I O R AWA R D
1 of 5 recipients in the Dwight Look College of Engineering
NATI ONAL I NSTR UMENTS endowed scholarship for excellence award D EPARTMENT O F ENGI NEER I NG two scholarships TEXAS A&M three academic excellence awards ASME SO UTH SECTI O N award tau beta pi excellence scholarship DWI GHT LOO K COLLEGE OF ENGI NEER I NG dean’s list honor award
want you to ask a lot of questions. Whenever they assign you a project, they want you to become independent. They want you to be able to work in a group effectively. Do you maintain contact with your JFK friends? Yes, even if I am away, the friends that I graduated with are still some of my best friends. We keep in touch and sometimes go on trips together. It is really fun to grow up with the same group of people because you really get to know them really well. What are your hobbies? I have a lot of hobbies. I really enjoy playing golf on my time off. I recently joined the triathlons team in Texas A&M and have competed in four races so far. It’s amazing because it’s definitely a challenge; you need to challenge yourself and, little by little, you become better at whatever you want to do. It’s even better doing it with a team that motivates you and really pushes you forward. Being in top shape really helps you with time management and it also helps you focus. 25
Alumni CONNECTING WITH ALUMNI
Do you have any other advice for future graduates? For anyone studying for a university degree, regardless if they are studying in Mexico, in the United States, in Europe or anywhere else, I have two suggestions: the first one is to get involved in the university and become a leader in some sort of way. For example, Texas A&M University has more than 250 organizations that you can get involved in: political, religious, academic, athletic, and any other kind that you are able to imagine. Another suggestion would be to get work experience. In the US you can participate in summer internships. Things like these give you a big advantage over other students. Companies are looking for people that know how to set goals, to reach those goals, to ask questions, to work as a team. Also, you get a better idea of what you want to do. There is nothing worse than going into an interview and to say “yes, whatever, I can do whatever you want”. They don’t want that, they want you to really want to do whatever that company does or whatever 26
the position that you are interviewing for does. So, working in internships really gives you an advantage on knowing what you want, what you like, what you don’t like. I can think of many things that I really don’t want to do that I saw when I was doing internships. Getting involved in organizations and getting work experience before you graduate, truly gives you an advantage.
A June alumni breakfast event was held here on campus to celebrate our 45th anniversary of providing educational services to the community. More than two-hundred and fifty alumni, as well as current and retired teachers came together that morning to share a delightful morning of remembrance. We all found the time for sharing of memories, stories, laughs, and hugs. The stories were much more important than food! Alumni who studied at JFK in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and from 2000 and on, were able to reunite with their old classmates and teachers. Many had not been together for more than twenty years.
By: Karla Ríos
The attendees were surprised and delighted to see a video showing pictures of each generation of students since the school was founded. These images filled everyone with emotion, especially when they saw themselves and their old friends in the pictures that told the story of their passage thru the Kennedy. Past and present became one when alumni were able to share old and new yearbooks, photo albums and even uniforms of their time at school. One of the auditorium’s walls was filled with pictures where alumni could leave messages of good will and sentiments of remembrance of those times gone by. Group photos on that day also added to the fun.
More than two-hundred and fifty alumni, as well as current and retired teachers came together that morning to share a delightful morning of remembrance. 27
To close the event on a high note, everybody had an opportunity to walk around campus and see the old and new facilities. It was wonderful to share an emotional moment with visiting alumni at the sight of their old classrooms, or at the memories of what use to be here; where they played, where the cafeteria was… the places where they spent those marvelous years of their childhood and youth. This reunion left a lasting impression with all. It reinforced our commitment to keep in touch with alumni through similar events in the future. Due to the success of this alumni breakfast, we plan to repeat it every two years. We will also keep in touch with alumni through a series of other activities. We are grateful to everyone that believed that this reunion would be a success, and helped to make it happen. Thanks to them we all were able to experience such a wonderful morning
of reunion. We especially want to thank our eighteen alumni coordinators for their efforts to contact others, and all of our sponsors and other people responsible for organizing this wonderful event. Thanks go to Mónica Duarte, Norma Rosado, Valeria Fagiolani, Paloma Álvarez and Karla Ríos; all of them part of the Communications and Institutional Development Department. Special thanks also go to Betty Borrego, Lili Dorantes and Tomás González for their valuable assistance. If you are a John F. Kennedy School alumni and could not come to this breakfast, but wish to join our alumni net, do not hesitate to call us at the following numbers: 218 0075 and 218 0974 extensions 1006 and 1010, or write to us at the special alumni email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
REUNIONS & SNAPSHOTS ‘05 Reunion Class
Photos courtesy of Tony Herrera Photo 1 Andrés Huerta, Daniel Álvarez, Ricardo Torres, Antonio Herrera and Priscilla Guerrero. Photo 2 Jessy Norris, Nara Laura, Antonio Herrera, Paulina Barrios, Daniel Álvarez and Priscilla Guerrero.
Due to the success of this alumni breakfast, we plan to repeat it every two years
‘99 Reunion Class
September 2010. Photos courtesy of Mariana Farill Photo 1 Bottom row: Aurora Flores, Christianne Coll, Daniel Quinzaños, Lorena Js, Dante Sepúlveda, Caty de la Cerda, ? Top row: Alberto Ruíz de Teresa, Mariana Farill, Luis Hoyos, ?, ?, Javier Loizaga Photo 2 Daniel Quinzaños, Mariana Farill, Hugo Herrera Heras, Beatriz Borrego, Cristianne Coll, Santiago Viesca, Luis Hoyos, Caty de la Cerda y Dante Sepúlveda.
Class WHAT ARE WE DOING NOW?
Tennis He participated in the Mexican Team of the Davis Cup against Venezuela. They won and promoted to Group Zone 1.
Photographer His work was published in the Reforma newspaper supplement. Specialist in fashion, portrait, product and special events. www.ricardo-urroz.com www.rurroz.com
Entrepreneur The Instituto Político Empresarial del Estado de Querétaro, A.C., was built, where Enrique Fausto Z. Vázquez Mellado serves as President besides being associated founder. 30
Benefits of Accreditation