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Focus Winter 2012 / 2013

the american school foundation, a.c.



Anniversary Issue

A magazine for alumni, parents, students, faculty & friends




ASF’s storied history, year by year

24 A Fair for All There was something for everybody at the 43rd Annual Art Fair


family forum 26 You Have Options Financial aid for tuition is available

focus on education 28 Turtle Trip It was as much about people as reptiles

STUDENT VOICES 31 Dreams Into Print How Repentino was born BY Camila de la Parra

Institutional Advancement 32 The Annual Giving Program 02 From the Executive Director

33 The 10th Annual Golf Tournament

02 Contributors

34 The Capital Campaign

Introducing some of our writers

Alumni 35 profile: Roberto Castillo (’02) and Andros Tabares (’02)

03 From the Editorial Board


04 From the Board of Trustees

36 Events

Lessons from a retreat

Alumni Bowl, Career Day, Alumni Breakfast

06 News & Events

38 Reunions

Debates, awards, fairs … and other goings-on

Who got together ... and what they did

DIVISIONS & DEPARTMENTS 11 Early Childhood Center

39 Class Notes Keeping in touch with the ASF family, far and wide

A dean’s list of priorities by SUSAN VICTOR

39 In Memoriam

12 Lower School

kids’ corner 40 Blood Parents, Heart Parents


BY Alexia Harvey Irabien

13 Middle School A case for clubs

14 Upper School A new IB English option BY GUY CHENEY

15 The Arts The role of visiting artists

16 Parent Association Volunteers explain what they do

17 Athletics & Extended Learning Homecoming 1

fr o m t h e e x e c u t iv e dir e c t o r

fr o m t h e e di t o ria l b o ard

As I write this letter, the ASF campus is in the midst of its 125th anniversary year, with a wide range of activities taking place to help us celebrate our status as the oldest accredited American school outside the United States. The school’s long history of academic excellence, as well as its unique role in advancing U.S.-Mexican relations and the cause of international cooperation, should make all of us in the ASF community feel proud.

We often use the word “celebrate” in connection with this anniversary year, and for good reason. After all, we have much to celebrate. At the same time, however, this kind of milestone also calls for somber reflection and a renewed determination to honor our long tradition. That means taking actions to make sure that ASF continues to improve, both as an educational institution and a community. As a member of the leadership team, I find it humbling and exhilarating to be involved with so many people who are taking up the task of moving ASF forward. The talent and dedication that I see all around me – including the volunteer spirit of so many parents, alumni and friends of the school – leave no doubt in my mind that the next 125 years will be just as successful as the first 125. Events that have taken place since my last letter to you in Focus underscore my confidence in our future. For example, our remodeled Sheila Ahumada Rafferty Administration Building and Upper School was recently awarded the Eco CIHAC prize for sustainable reconversion. This award, bestowed by outgoing President Calderón, was made possible by the Board of Trustees’ earlier decision that new building projects on the ASF campus will be environmentally sustainable, and qualify for LEED-certified “green building” status. While it is an honor to be awarded such a prize, the true value of the building is its very existence on campus. Not only does it provide students and staff with a safe and healthy place to learn and work, it carries out the school’s conviction that environmental responsibility is not just something to learn in class, but also something to put into practice in the real world. The Art Fair that took place on campus in November for the 43rd year was another example of honoring tradition while serving the current student body and working toward a bright future. Students did not just attend the fair – they took part in it, with student art from all grade levels making up a large portion of the work on display. The funds raised by the Parent Association, which organized the fair, will go to ASF’s future, in the form of scholarships, the Capital Campaign and other school-related causes. Finally, I was inspired by the gathering of former ASF students at the Alumni Breakfast in October. Seeing these alumni from different generations served as a reminder of the value of ASF’s mission. By encouraging young people from diverse backgrounds to “love learning, live purposefully and to become responsible,” ASF truly does help them become “contributing citizens of the world.” The proof was right there at that alumni event. There is no better investment in the future than that, and no better way to honor our school’s 125-year tradition. Paul Williams Executive Director



c o n t ribu t o r s

A magazine for ASF Alumni, Parents, Students, Faculty and Friends Winter, 2012-2013 Vol. XI | No. 3 | Mexico City

Bret Sikkink (“Turtle Trip,” page 28) Bret Sikkink has been teaching Economics in the Upper School for two years. He lives with his wife Leslie Barnhizer in Roma and most days they can be found roaming the streets with their miniature dachshund Chrysanthemum. “I was intrigued by the idea of the turtle trip,” Bret says. “I decided to tackle this article because I wanted to learn more about this opportunity for students and the remarkable village that they visit.”

The theme of this issue of Focus is, naturally enough,

ASF’s 125th anniversary. That number – 125! – continues to amaze as the ASF community plans and participates in special events celebrating our anniversary.

Guy Cheney (“Changing Language, Changing Courses,” page 14) Guy Cheney, the head of the English Department and a frequent contributor to Focus, is in his fifth year of teaching IB English in the Upper School. His two daughters, Oriana and Dalva, are in the Lower School. Coach of the ASF Running team, he spends as much time as possible running in Desierto de Los Leones, and blogs about mountain running in Mexico at

One thing that became abundantly clear as we put together the line-up for this issue is that a lot has happened at our school since the first nine students attended kindergarten in the private home of an American businessman in 1888. To give you a glimpse of just how much, and to help you know a little bit about the remarkable people and important events that went into making ASF what it is today, we have compiled a reader-friendly, year-by-year account of ASF’s history from Day One to yesterday. It makes for fascinating reading, and it begins on page 18. A big part of ASF’s storied history over most of the last half century is the annual Art Fair, one of the most important gatherings of Mexico City’s international community. This year’s 43rd edition of the fair carried with it a special anniversary flavor, as well as an intriguing featured exhibition of the early work of Andy Warhol, a true American original. Our coverage of the Art Fair (page 24) captures the atmosphere of this much-loved event.

The Lower School Music Team (“Musical Choice,” page 12) Joseph Edwards, who teaches choir, is from New Jersey and graduated with degrees in music and education from Monmouth University with a concentration in choral music. Before moving to Mexico, he taught in public and private schools around New Jersey and New York, in addition to pursuing his own interests in composing and performing. This is Joseph’s second year at ASF. Olivia Maekawa, who teaches violin, has taught music at the ASF Lower School since 2009. She holds a bachelor’s degree in flute performance from Escuela Superior de Música, INBA in Mexico City and has been a Certified Music Teacher by TEA (Texas Education Agency) since 2002. Rob McCabe teaches third grade Orff Ensemble and the fourth and fifth grade bands. Susan Victor (“Global Thinking at a Young Age,” page 11) Susan Victor joined ASF this school year as the ECC academic dean. Originally from Washington D.C., she holds master’s degrees in education leadership from Lehigh University and special education from James Madison University.

Two of ASF’s major focuses are environmental awareness and community service. Both were motives for a trip to the Oaxaca coast earlier this semester, where students studied and helped protect the native turtle population, and also contributed supplies and their labor to help the marginalized residents of the local town. ASF teacher Bret Sikkink tells the story beginning on page 28. Another ASF priority since the 1980s has been making financial aid available to the families of students who might not be able to afford an ASF education without it. All of the funds for financial aid come from donations from members of the ASF community and its friends. On pages 26 and 27, you’ll learn how the program works, and how it contributes to fulfilling ASF’s commitment to a diverse student body. Our 125th anniversary celebration will continue throughout 2013. You will surely be reading more about anniversary-related topics in the next two issues of Focus. But we think you’ll find plenty to enjoy and think about in this issue. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. On the cover: A collage of historic photos from ASF’s 125-year history.

Sloane Starke Editor-in-Chief and Chair of the Focus Editorial Board


Paul Williams Executive Director Susan Olivo Head of Early Childhood Center Evan Hunt Head of Lower School Rebecca Crutchfield Head of Middle School Amy Gallie Head of Upper School Robert Wilson Head of Athletics & Extended Learning Board of Trustees Rosa Marentes de Pisinger (’87), Chair Catherine Austin (’78), 1st Vice Chair Jeffrey Scott McElfresh, 2nd Vice Chair Carla Ormsbee, Secretary Joan Liechty, Treasurer Aliki Botton de Elías (’85) César Buenrostro (’85) Murray H. Case Sara Craig Francisco Demesa Sebastian Fernández Steve Finley Fernando Franco Fernando Gutiérrez Ochoa Frances Huttanus Antonio Rallo John Santa Maria Otazúa

Editorial Board Adele Goldschmied, Cindy Tanaka (’91) Clementina Aguilar, Michele Beltrán Paul Williams, Juan de Jesús Breene Editorial Staff Violeta Ayala, Director of Communications Sloane Starke, Editor-in-Chief and Chair of the Editorial Board Kelly Arthur Garrett, Editorial Consultant Daniela Graniel, Art Director Marisela Sanabria, Photography Alumni Relations Cindy Tanaka (’91) Parent Association Alma Rosa Rodríguez, President Lilián Toro, Vice President Advertising Sales: 5227 4942 FOCUS es una publicación cuatrimestral editada por The American School Foundation, A.C., Sur 136 #135, Col. Las Américas, México, D.F., C.P. 01120. Editora Responsable: Sloane Alexandria Starke. Derechos de Autor: Licitud de Título y de Contenido 16220. Reserva de Derecho: 04-2008-111212240200-102. Distribuido por The American School Foundation, A.C. Sur 136 #135, Col. Las Américas, México, D.F., C.P. 01120. Se prohibe la reproducción total o parcial de los textos de esta revista sin previa autorización escrita de The American School Foundation, A.C.

fr o m t h e b o ard o f t ru s t e e s

Every year during the first week of September, the Board of Trustees gets together for “Board training.” This year Stephen Robinson, president of the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), reminded the trustees of our responsibilities as a Board.

ASF is a non-profit educational institution created to implement the most modern and effective teaching methods and systems used in the United States to prepare students to pursue post-secondary studies. The Board of Trustees actually holds the school in trust for future generations, and it is charged with ensuring that ASF is always operating according to the purpose for which it was created. In order to accomplish this, Trustees have certain responsibilities, as Mr. Robinson reminded us. I would like to share those responsibilities with you through this letter. The Board of Trustees has a legal responsibility. What this means is that it must ensure that ASF functions within all legal requirements. The Board has a fiduciary responsibility. It must make sure that the school has enough economic resources and that they are used appropriately, so that the school will continue to prosper for many years to come. The Board has a duty of oversight. As part of our duty of oversight, we must corroborate that the institution is fulfilling its original mission. This is accomplished by monitoring the school’s programs and making sure that the organization is running well. All trustees must be involved with fundraising. This is an important part of our responsibilities because it ensures that the institution has enough funds to fulfill its ambitious goals. The Board represents different constituencies. Trustees are elected to bring to the Board different talents that will enable the institution to move toward the future. Each individual trustee brings a different point of view to our many discussions. However, even though we have divergent points of view, we are all expected to have ASF’s best interest in mind when the Board gets together to exercise its decision-making power, This year’s Board Training reminded us not just of what we are responsible for, but also of what we are not responsible for. Though the entire Board is charged with ensuring the school’s future well being, the Trustees are not charged with the daily operations of the school. It was a valuable experience, and we all came out of it looking forward to a very productive year at ASF. Rosa Marentes de Pisinger (’87) Chair of the ASF Board of Trustees 4


A Gathering of Google Educators

The Microphone is Now Open

Some 300 educators from 50 different schools were at ASF over the first weekend in September, learning how to use Google Apps to support student learning as ASF hosted the Latin American Summit on Google Applications for Education. Among the presenters was Juan De Luca (shown here), ASF’s Extended Learning coordinator, a Google Certified Teacher, a Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer and an Apple Distinguished Educator.

From time to time Open Mic nights are held at the Upper School Library, giving anybody in the ASF community the opportunity to get up behind a microphone and show the people what you can do. Here are some of the participants from last September’s talented gathering, seen in photographs by Miguel Angel Webber.

Our Award-Winning Upper School Building Literary Ambitions

The Upper School remodeling project that also created the Sheila Rafferty Ahumada Administrative Building, completed in 2009, achieved LEED-certification as a “green” building while giving students, faculty and staff a healthy environment to learn, teach and work in. On October 18, during an expo of Latin America’s leading construction and housing industry association, the building project was honored by President Felipe Calderón with the Eco CIHAC Award as one of the outstanding examples of sustainable reconversion during his term of office, which ended on December 1. The ASF building was recognized for its design that reduces energy consumption and natural resource use, among other qualities that promote a healthier environment. Only two other projects, and no other school, were so honored.

In the beginning of the 2011-2012 academic year, a group of students decided to revamp the old ASF magazine Reflections. Our goal was to create a magazine in which artists from all over the globe could expose their art and writing. With the encouragement of Harry Brake, who is now the ASF librarian, the support of the English department and a mixture of hard work, organizational skills and creativity, Repentino became a reality. Our efforts have been rewarded in many ways. Our club, which has grown from five members to more than 20, won a school award for being the most active club along with the Drama Club and the Debate Club. We have become an important part of the school community. As part of learning how to create a magazine, we attended the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s conference in New York City to learn from successful writers and artists. Taking classes that ranged from ‘’Abstract Photography’’ to ‘’How to Choose an Appropriate Font,’’ this trip gave us the tools to create something actually worth reading. As soon as the first issue was published in May 2012, it was entered in CSPA’s magazine contest to get professional feedback. Not only did we receive helpful and explicit corrections, but Repentino was also given a silver award. This year we hope to achieve a higher quality magazine. Through involvement with the IB Visual Arts graduates, the photography classes and the creative writing class, we hope to stress the importance of the arts. Also, through collaboration with another student literary magazine, Aerie International, and the literary magazine, The Ofi Press of Mexico City, we are exploring an even broader spectrum of internationalism. Repentino is on sale at the Upper School Library. You can contact us at and you also might want to take a look at — Camila de la Parra, Editor-in-chief, Repentino

Shout it Out! El Grito, the 1810 cry of independence that political leaders from the president on down replicate every year on the eve of Mexico’s September 16 Independence Day, is a major cause for celebration on the ASF campus. This year, as always, the four school divisions (teachers and students) each celebrated in their own way. We’ll let the photos here tell the story.

Calling All Grandparents and Grandfriends The 2013 Grandparents and Grandfriends Day at the ECC is set for February 13. Soon after the New Year rings in, registration will begin. There’s an appealing feature to the traditional day: You can order a special tile dedicated to your grandchild for placement on the ECC school wall at the time you register, so it will be ready and in place on the day of your visit. Call María José Marín at 5227 4943 in the Institutional Advancement office for details.



NE W S & E V ENTS Ready ... Retreat!

East Meets West

For two days in September, 71 Middle School students were not in school. Instead they were eating churros and chocolate in Coyoacán, touring the markets, eating at Vips and exploring the Xochimilco canals on trajineras. It was all part of the annual retreat that integrates new students into the school, introducing them to some magnificent places in Mexico City and helping them make friends. Accompanying the new arrivals were members of the Student Council, who helped the new students adjust while developing their own leadership skills. “The feedback from the kids was outstanding,” said Suzanne Blum, special activities coordinator for the Middle School. “They loved that there was lots of time to get to know each other and that we visited ‘really cool places.’” The Upper School also had its own new student retreat.

ASF teacher Isabel Arline Duque was born in Los Angeles, California of Mexican descent, but her academic interest since the 1980s is South Asia and the Hindi language, especially as they interact with Mexico. Her past contributions to seven books often dealt with the topic of Asian migration to Mexico. So it’s not surprising that her attention turned recently to a 17th century Indian Moghul princess named Meera, who after being kidnapped by Portuguese pirates took on the name of Catharina de San Juan. Later, she found her way to Mexico, where at the time pretty much anything east of Europe was called Chinese. So she became known as the China Poblana, a name etched in Mexican folklore and fashion ever since. Ms. Duque contributed the prologue to an upcoming historical novel about the China Poblana, entitled Corazón Arrebatado: Vida y Milagros de Catharina de San Juan, la China Poblana. It will be published by Editorial Porrúa. She is also working on her own novel based on the life of Pandurang Khankhoje, an Indian scholar and revolutionary who lived in Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s. Her dream for the future? Translating the poetry of Octavio Paz into Hindi.

Get Back To the uninitiated, Back to School Night can sound like an evening of lighthearted fun. The four Back to School Nights (one for each division) at ASF in late August and early September were in fact enjoyable, but there was a productive purpose to them. Parents met their children’s teachers, got to know the actual rooms where classes would take place, reviewed the academic plans for the year, participated in activities much as the students do, asked questions and in general got an up-close look at what their son or daughter’s classroom experience looks and feels like. Perhaps most important, these Back to School Nights marked a first step in establishing an ongoing parent involvement that is so vital to a thorough ASF education.

House Fun Day ASF’s Lower School uses a house system. Students belong to one of eight “houses,” named for the school’s founders that help them develop closer friendships within their grade level as well as relationships across the grade levels. House deans mentor the children and support their academic and behavioral development. But on House Fun Day early in the fall, the system had another function— a good time for the whole family. The pictures tell the story.

ASF Debaters: Shining in Chile ASF Debaters are a well-traveled group, having crossed the world on several occasions as part of the Mexican team in international tournaments, as well as representing ASF in major national competitions on the ASF campus. Here we see, glowing in the dark, some of the trophies presented to the Mexican team for its firstand second-place finishes, both in English and in Spanish, at the Pan American Schools Debating Championships held in Santiago, Chile just before the new school year started. Mexico’s victories included first, second and third place in Spanish and first and third place in English. Here is the team make-up of each of them: 1st Place English: Ariel de la Garza, Julio Meyer, and Diego Cepeda (all ASF) 1st Place Spanish: Diego Cepeda and Pato Dávila (ASF) and Mariano Muñoz (ITESM Santa Fe) 2nd Place Spanish: Sissi Li and Julio Meyer (ASF) and Alfonso Suárez Meade (ITESM Santa Fe) 3rd Place English: Pato Dávila (ASF), Mariano Muñoz (ITESM Santa Fe) and Seb Allaore (Edron) 3rd Place Spanish: Ariel de la Garza (ASF), Nicholas Chapou (Churchill) and Antonio Tena (Tec) 8

A Welcoming Event The Parent Association holds a picnic on campus near the beginning of every new school year, to welcome new families to the fold and welcome back returning families. It’s a great way to ease back into the school year, renew friendships and make new ones. This year’s Welcome Picnic took place on September 1, a Saturday. 9


divi s i o n s & d e par t m e n t s ea r l y c h ild h o o d ce n t e r

Global Thinking at a Young Age

Halloween As October turned into November, ASF was celebrating two special days that are related historically but very different in mood. Students and teachers at all grade levels dressed up in Halloween costumes, all in the spirit of fun. At the same time, a traditional Day of the Dead display appeared on campus, which in and around November 2 (a school holiday) are found in private homes and public places to help the living remember (some say communicate with) lost loved ones.

Like every other division at ASF, the Early Childhood Center has an academic dean. Here she explains in her own words what that position entails. By Susan Victor, ECC Academic Dean


Wanted By the World’s Universities: Students from Mexico ASF hosted its annual College Fair on September 29, with more than 2,000 students from ASF and other schools attending and discovering something everybody likes to know: They are wanted. Universities large and small from the United States, Mexico, Canada and Europe, as well as other parts of the globe, actively seek Mexican and international students from Mexican schools as potential enrollees. Representatives from 145 of those institutions filled the Jenkins Foundation Wellness Center to talk to students and parents in the hopes that this year’s graduates will apply. Many such fairs take place throughout Mexico, but the American School Foundation’s version is by far the largest.

he academic dean of the Early Childhood Center (ECC) ensures that the International Baccalaureate curriculum is delivered with teachers using best practices to teach young children. The curriculum framework used is the IB’s Primary Years Programme, which applies to students up to the fifth grade, or 12 years old. As academic dean in the ECC, I am responsible for the youngest students, from age 3 to age 7, when impressions are first made and kept for life. When I joined ASF, I brought with me not only knowledge, but also my commitment to, and belief in, the PYP. As an educator in the 21st century, I know that being global-minded is a requirement. When adults, today’s ECC students will work with people around the world. They will need to have an understanding of what it truly means to be a global citizen. In working with the PYP, people see

students speaking two or three different languages at a young age. They gain understanding by exploring and inquiring, while learning and thinking for themselves using problemsolving skills. ECC students begin embracing what international-mindedness means at a young age and carry this meaning with them throughout their lives. So as academic dean I not only deliver the curriculum framework, I also work with teachers to ensure they are using best practices. I feel this task was designed for me. I have spent the majority of my career successfully working with students and teachers to enhance their knowledge and skills base so they can be the best they can be. Working for international schools has brought me to Asia, the Middle East and now to Mexico. I am excited and enthusiastic about working at ASF and taking on the challenge of my position as ECC Academic Dean.

ECC youngsters explore and play, but there’s a curricular framework guiding their activities.



From the Head of School

THESE TOYS ARE MADE FOR PLAYING I bet most of you reading this letter began thinking about shopping for holiday season gifts way back in October. Am I right? For some of you, maybe the suggestions I’m about to give come too late. I myself have very clear memories of running around the city looking for the exact Cabbage Patch doll for my daughter late into the evening in different stores in December and feeling desperate when I wasn’t able to find it. When you are shopping for toys, remind yourself of the real definition of the word “play.” Play is an activity that doesn’t require too many things. It’s the activity of play, not the things of play that promotes brain growth. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a developmental psychologist at Temple University, offers helpful suggestions about this for parents that I think are worth passing along to you. The first is to buy toys that demand active interaction. Toys should offer opportunities to solve problems and think creatively. She also suggests avoiding toys that need batteries. If all children do is push buttons or tap a screen, they’re just passive observers. Blocks, dolls and balls and other simple toys are best, she says Allow them unstructured time to play with them. What about “educational” toys? Dr. Hirsh-Pasek suggests your house, garden and neighborhood park probably have all they need. An example: Dividing M&Ms by color and eating two of one color and three of another helps make math meaningful to them. The main point of this letter is that you really don’t have to stay up until the wee hours on Christmas Eve putting together doll houses and racetracks. One of my favorite times during the school day is when children run into my office to take the bag full of fabric pieces to play in the Turtle Patio. There are four or five purple rectangles of fabric that they often use as capes to cover houses made of blocks, as a blanket to cover a baby made of blocks, and other creative uses. Just pieces of cloth can make wonderful toys. My recommendation to parents is keep your children’s toys simple and open-ended so they can use their creativity and power to invent whatever they would like to play.

Susan Olivo Head of Early Childhood Center

divi s i o n s & d e par t m e n t s l o we r s c h o o l From the Head of School

Think Globally, Act Personally When I was the same age as our students here in the Lower School I would ride to school with my mother in Houston. It was years before the digital revolution took place — no iPhone, no e-mail, no text messages — so the drive was free of sensory overload. A favorite pastime was reading bumper stickers on passing cars. In 1985 one of the most popular was “Don’t Mess with Texas,” a slogan to discourage littering. But another still resonates with me today: “Think globally, act locally.” At 10, I never envisioned myself living outside the United States, and I had certainly never heard of IB or the concept of being internationally minded. But that sticker began a dialogue between my mother and me that continues in my head to this day. Fortunately my school included a number of international students, mostly from families that transferred to Houston during the oil boom. I had classmates from Pakistan, China, Israel and the Philippines. Through their presence our classroom in central Houston was transformed from local to global. No longer did we think of Asia or the Middle East as anonymous locations on a map; they were places our classmates called home. With our struggle to understand our differences, the world became more personalized. We are on the same journey here at Lower School, and throughout ASF. Culture is all around us, and technology has made it more accessible. But it is not meaningful if it is not personal. We want our students to pursue global thinking as a concept, but also to make it tangible through experiencing how cultural differences impact the lives of adults and children. Students may not be aware of just how important this daily lesson is. But when they look back they will realize just how fortunate they are to have had such an experience at ASF. The journey is gradual, but the cultural education it provides over time is arguably as important as learning language arts and math. I am proud that at ASF we provide this opportunity.

Evan Hunt Head of Lower School

divi s i o n s & d e par t m e n t s middle s c h o o l

Musical Choice

From the Head of School

Turntables, iPods And Education

Third, fourth and fifth graders can now follow their musical interests at an earlier age. One payoff is they’ll enter Middle School better prepared for the music courses ahead. The following article was written by the Lower School music team, which includes teachers Rob McCabe, Joseph Edwards and Olivia Maekawa.


or the first time at The American School Foundation, kids in grades three, four and five have a choice about their performing arts. Instead of staying with their homeroom class for general music, students are divided in sections based on musical interest. Third grade students select between violin, Orff ensemble and choir. Fourth and fifth grade students are given the choice of band, violin or choir. There are benefits to this approach that go beyond musical preference. It’s a chance to develop social skills in groups outside the familiar ones in the general classroom. Students can also collaborate with others with similar interests. Third grade focuses on solidifying knowledge of note and rhythm reading and applying that knowledge to performing, usually on Orff instruments. Their music will become increasingly complex as the year progresses. Fourth and fifth grade are in the middle of their first experience with traditional band instruments from the woodwind, brass and percussion families. Once these students learn the basics of sound production on their instrument, they will begin to form and play different pieces of band music together. The choir sections examine various aspects and genres of singing. A large amount of time in these classes is dedicated to learning how to sing as a group in different musical 12

parts. This is done by examining different styles of music, working with rhythm, using ear training exercises and utilizing technology to record and then analyze how these parts work together. These choir classes have also been examining the art of performing as individuals. Recently, all sections of choir completed a project in which students wrote and performed their own choir recruitment ad. The goal of this course has been and will continue to be for students to become better choral singers and individual performers. In the violin option, the challenge for students is to play a difficult instrument at a young age — with confidence. They practice music instruction methods such as Suzuki, and anyone passing by the music room can already hear great sounds coming from inside. Although violin is the only orchestral instrument currently taught in this class, plans are being developed to add violas and cellos for next year to comprise a string orchestra. This kind of curriculum provides students with a tremendous opportunity to nurture musical interests at a very young age. It is the vision of ASF Lower School that students will be entering Middle School with a solid foundation of knowledge and appreciation of the arts. They will be better prepared for Middle and Upper School music courses than any previous generation of Lower School graduates.

Clubs offer perfect venues for young adolescents to find their talent, feel a sense of belonging and meet like-minded peers.

There Will be Clubs The Middle School is acting on a new initiative to start a club program. Any ideas?


f your child has become moodier, shown spurts of anger or frustration, displayed a contrary attitude and/or seems to be pulling away from you and toward his or her friends, then you are likely smack in the middle of the Wonder Years, also known as Middle School. What drives the parent of an adolescent crazy at home is precisely what drives Middle Schools in their program design. Classroom work inspires most when it relates to real life problem solving and explores ideas and opinions and experiential learning. In the same way, extracurricular activities address an adolescent’s massive emotional and physical changes. In particular, organized and supervised club offerings can benefit a middle school child in countless ways. Supervised clubs give students an opportunity to develop interests with appropriate guidance, structure and space. Clubs provide a place to make new friends, to be part of a community within a community, and to meet likeminded peers that students may not normally intermingle with during the regular school day.

Clubs offer students a place for belonging that isn’t necessarily academic. This can be key, since at this age this sense of belonging is most often tied to friendships and social outlets. Clubs can also ease more timid or reluctant kids into social settings that are less intimidating. They can calm social anxieties and create a safe place for students to explore their leadership capabilities. Clubs in the Middle School would lend themselves to supporting this age where kids are exploring their interests, finding their talents and continuing to develop their self-esteem. Finally, clubs in a school setting can satisfy the developmental craving of belonging that is a predominant need for adolescents. For all those reasons and more, the ASF Middle School is acting on a new initiative that would develop a club program that doesn’t really exist now. Ideas are welcome. Some so far have called for a Math Club, a Robotics Club, a Weightlifting Club, a Jokes Club, a Knitting Club, a Spanish Club and a Book Club. 13

Several years ago, my 5-year-old daughter started begging me for an iPod. I ignored the request for a while, thinking it would go away, but she insisted. Finally I asked her, “Why do you want that? Do you know what it’s for?” Her reply: “It’s so I can listen to my music, Mommy!” That was when my first shift in thinking came while raising a digital native. I asked myself what the difference was between my own Kindergarten years spent listening to my 45’s on a turntable and her using essentially a smaller version of the same thing. It turns out that we did buy her an iPod, and that she does listen to a lot of music. But I also noticed that she was learning to read because of this little device. “I want that song,” she would say, “the one that starts with the letter D.” As adults, we often feel the need for education to be exactly the same as it was for us. We might ask: Why don’t you fill out those workbooks? Why isn’t there a spelling test each Friday? When I was your age, I memorized all the world’s capital cities, and you should too! You should perfect your cursive, you should make a model of an Egyptian pyramid and you should write your homework in a paper agenda. As we learn more about the brain, we are also learning more about the way human beings learn and retain knowledge, about what motivates us to learn and about the varied styles of learning that exist. Our education system is also evolving, which requires us, as parents, to evolve along with it. Sometimes, the best way to learn is in fact to memorize something. But keep an open mind to the fact that sometimes it isn’t. After all, isn’t Justin Bieber on an iPod pretty much the same as the Beach Boys on a turntable?

Rebecca Crutchfield Head of Middle School

divi s i o n s & d e par t m e n t s U PP E R s c h o o l

divi s i o n s & d e par t m e n t s t h e a r t s

Visitation Rights

From the Head of School

The Value of Clubs The end of a semester is a busy time in the Upper School. Students study for finals and teachers squirrel themselves away to grade them. But some of the most important things that go on happen outside of the classroom, within the realm of student clubs. Simply stated, clubs can change students’ lives. Clubs give Upper School kids a place to be themselves, to be passionate about their areas of interest with no holds barred. In these spaces, kids can “ pull all nighters,” not because they have to, but because they want to. Take the editorial staff of Repentino, the ASF literary magazine, for example. They spend hours poring over submissions, editing them, and perfecting layout. These young literati can spend hours debating the most strategic location of a comma. The Robotics Club members will spend their Spring Break creating a robot for ASF’s second international robotics competition. And the Debate Team is at it year round, reading, prepping, perfecting their logic. Clubs allow kids to be who they are, to work with equally passionate teachers. While the products that are created are important — magazines, robots, or well-crafted arguments — the friendships that are forged along the way are the most important aspect of these clubs.

Amy Gallie Head of Upper School

When professional artists take time from their careers to help out on campus, everybody gains.

Changing Language, Changing Courses Students now have two options for IB English. The new approach recognizes that literature is important, but not the only place that language worth analyzing can be found. By Guy Cheney, IB English Teacher and Head of the English Department


ince the advent of the IB program at ASF, we have offered one IB English option: IB English A1. This was a course steeped in literature that provided an opportunity for students to read works ranging from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment to Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This course provided an excellent grounding in the analysis, discussion and writing about these literary works. But it was not a course for everyone. Still, any student who wanted to take the full IB diploma was required to take the course. There were no other IB English options. This lack of options was a concern, and not just at ASF. The medium of language is evolving constantly and while the study of literature is essential for all students, what about the language that surrounds us every day: the language of blogs, cable news, billboards, social media? In recognition of this shift, the IB has offered another option that students can take at the “A” level. The IB now offers two choices: Literature A (which replaces, with minor 14

adjustments, the previous English A1 option), and Language and Literature A. The new Language and Literature A course, which is currently being taught by Debbie Ramon and myself, changes the approach to literature. Not that the focus on literature is abandoned — the students still read Shakespeare and contemporary novels. The change is that students are also looking at the language that is all around us today. They will learn about the origins of language, how language shapes identity and culture, and ways language is manipulated to create and maintain power. These students will still analyze Hamlet’s soliloquys on the nature of man, but then they will apply these same analytical skills to analyze everything from contemporary political speech to editorials from the New York Times to Internet popup advertisements. How does language change? How are our views influenced by language? To what extent is our world shaped by language? These are some of the questions that students of IB Language and Literature will be exploring in the next two years.


or several weeks at various times of the school year, there are artists on the ASF campus who are neither teachers nor students. They are part of a program approved and budgeted by the K-12 Visual Arts Coordination that brings in professional, working artists for a week or so to share their knowledge with students and teachers and help complete a specific project. “The guest artists are chosen by the teachers who work with the artist to create a project that can be realized quickly,” says ASF Visual Arts Coordinator Pat Patterson. “We also like the artists to tell us about their own work and share the actual artwork or a presentation with images of their work.” In the last year, the line-up of visiting artists has included Sukel, a graffiti artist; Juan Bautista, a master printmaker; and Juan Eduardo Hernández, a fashion designer. The artists not only teach technical skills and guide students through a project, they also

bring with them a working knowledge of art as a career, offering insights into the day-today life of a creative professional. The most recent visitor was a British silkscreen artist named Andrew Robinson, who spent a good deal of his time on campus last October helping 8th graders create silk screens to display at the Nov. 10 Art Fair. The fair featured the early work of Andy Warhol, a popularizer of silk screen art, so it was natural for some ASF students to tackle the genre for their Art Fair exhibits. They soon discovered that silk screen, as an artistic process, is not an easy task. “I don’t think we understood the complexity of the project,” says Middle School art teacher Ivette Berentsen. “It’s hard work, and it’s very difficult to get good results.” That’s where Mr. Robinson came in. “Since his expertise is with silk screens, we hired him to come in and teach us the process,” Ms. Berensen says. “I’d never done it before, so he was teaching me as well.” 15

From the Coordinator

The Latest Buzz Happy buzzing from the Performing Arts Department! Our third, fourth and fifth grade students are learning how to play different band instruments like flutes, clarinets, saxophones and trumpets with Mr. Rob, and others are learning how to bow away with Mrs. Maekawa on their new violins. Another group of students are singing up a storm under the direction of Mr. Joe. If you have a son or daughter in ASF, we hope you have heard them talking about what they are doing in music class. There is a new excitement in the air around third, fourth and fifth grade music classes this year. (More on this on page 12.) For much of September and October music and drama teachers were preparing student groups to participate in the Art Fair, which took place on Nov. 10. Like the previous year, the students really enjoyed the experience of sharing music with their parents, friends and community members. Our US and MS Choir and Band students were invited to play a concert at the US Embassy on November 14. This was the first occasion for these students to participate in a concert outside of the ASF campus. We will talk again next issue. Keep on buzzing!

Dr. Deborah Lawrence K/12 Performing Arts Coordinator

divi s i o n s & d e par t m e n t s p a r e n t a s s o cia t i o n

A Homecoming Celebration

What We Do Parent Association volunteers are some of the hardest working contributors to the ASF community. Here, in their own words, some of them describe their efforts.

divi s i o n s & d e par t m e n t s a t h le t ic s & e x t e n ded lea r n i n g

Homecoming brought respect ...

... intensity ...

... action ...

... support ...

... victory ...

... and sportsmanship

PA volunteers are almost always visible at major ASF events. But they’re also working behind the scene to make a lot of those events happen in the first place.

What do you do as PA volunteers? Paola Besa: I serve as PA treasurer. Verónica Aguilar: I’m an ECC coordinator. However, I have always been a homeroom mom, as well as an active volunteer in all the school activities such as the Art Fair and the book fairs. Marissa Russell: I am the PA coordinator in ECC, along with Verónica. We coordinate the homeroom parents and acts as liaisons between the head of school’s office and the mothers. We inform mothers about activities and we act as the voice of the parents with the head so she knows what’s on their minds. Margarita Orozco (assistant treasurer): I organize the sale and distribution of the Art Fair tickets, and I help out with other activities throughout the year. Christina Moguel: I’ve been organizing my children’s generation for many years, doing dinners so the parents can get to know each other, keeping the class lists, organizing graduation and trying to disseminate information among the parents. I was recently named PA secretary, so I’m in charge of recording the minutes for the executive meetings as well as the general meetings. Beatriz Martin-Moreno: I coordinate the Lower School volunteer mothers and the homeroom moms. Claudia Delgado: I coordinate the Lower School homeroom mothers, participate in the Annual Giving Program, and keep up with the events organized by the school and the PA so I can help when necessary. Cecilia Tapia: I help out with the PA in the time I’m not spending with my children and my husband, who are my priority, along with my work. Karen Márquez: I help families adapt if they are new to Mexico or ASF.

school activities and knowing the reasoning behind the school’s projects and decisions. It lets me help my community, which is ultimately my children’s community. Margarita Orozco: To serve the school that my children go to, to know the teachers and to spend time with the other school mothers. Christina Moguel: I am committed to my children’s learning and development, and I feel that this is a way to get involved with them. Beatriz Martin-Moreno: To get to know the school parents who share the same commitment to creating a community that is pleasant and fun for everybody. Claudia Delgado: To help, to take part in school activities, to know the school better and the people who work in it, and to get to know the school families. Karen Márquez: Because I understand how difficult it is to arrive at a new school or new country and not know anybody. If we can help the mothers (because even though fathers are welcome, they don’t come) adapt and be happy, that will help their children a lot. As the saying goes, “If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

What motivated you to work with the PA? Paola Besa: To be closer to my children, and to be productive and contributing to the community. Vero Aguilar: My primary motivation is to be closer to my children. My second motivation is to give back to ASF that gave me so much in my formative years. Marissa Russell: Being close to my children, being informed about the

Do PA volunteers earn a salary or receive other benefits? Marissa Russell: We do not receive any benefit, power or discount by being part of the PA. It is strictly a volunteer service that I do for love of my children and the ASF community. Vero Aguilar: None. Sometimes people ask me, “Do you work?” Yes, I work, a lot. It’s just that I don’t charge for it and they don’t pay me. Paola Besa: The benefit is being an active part of the community.

How many hours a week do you work as a PA volunteer? Margarita Orozco: The average is about 10 hours a week. Vero Aguilar: Wow, it really varies. Some weeks I go every day to the school for one thing or another. Other times I may just send a message in a week, or go to just one meeting. Marissa Russell: The amount of hours that I work for the PA is determined by the time of year or activity that is going on. During the first month of the school year I put in one or two hours daily. Once the ball is rolling, it gets easier. When there are events like the English Book Fair I put in a little more.



alumni football players, including Leon Merikanskas (’93), who received the first ever Alumni Football Award. The Bear Boosters were there in full force to provide food and athletic gear to community members. They also held a raffle at half time. Our Middle and Upper School clubs participated by providing snacks. We even sported a dancing Bear that helped to stir up the crowd in support of our team. The game was close and intense, with the Bears achieving a thrilling victory, 29-27.

uring the Homecoming Day celebration on Saturday, October 27, the ASF campus was buzzing with activity. On this special day, a number of sporting events took place throughout the day, including Lower and Middle School soccer matches, and varsity boys and girls volleyball and basketball. And our Varsity Football team hosted a league football game vs. UMAD from Puebla. The stadium was filled to capacity with spectators that included U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne. Ceremonies honored From the Coordinator

Claymation In Extended Learning, we strive to provide students with learning opportunities beyond the regular school day in sports, languages, arts and technology. We believe that children should have a space where they explore their talents and passions, all in a safe and engaging environment. That is why I would like to talk to you about Claymation, an activity that combines both the arts and technology in order to produce a short video with animated clay. As you can see in the picture, students first build a storyboard of their movie. That promotes their high-order thinking skills, as it demands planning, organization and structure. Then, when building the clay figures and sets, they are using their creative side, letting their imagination run loose. After that, they photograph the models with cameras and tripods, taking into consideration lighting and shadows. Finally, they create a movie by putting together the pictures, building an animation that gives the illusion of movement. I would like to invite you to come to the December demonstrations of Claymation and all Extended Learning activities. It’s a great way to see what the children are doing, and what other activities they might be interested in joining.

Juan De Luca Extended Learning Coordinator 17



ASF’s storied history, one year at a time. This 125th anniversary year calls for remembering our long history. But so much has unfolded since The American School first began educating young people in 1888 that it would take volumes to tell the story. So instead we give you a brief outline of that history, reviewing highlights and significant moments. Be forewarned: this list is by no means exhaustive. But we hope it inspires you to learn more about our school’s development.

In the Beginning ...

1888 The story of the American School begins in August as nine boys and girls attend Kindergarten in the private home of oilman John Davis on Iturbide Street, near what is now Bucareli and Reforma. The lessons are taught in English by Mr. Davis’s mother-inlaw, Bessie Files. 1894 With a growing student body the school becomes the “Mexico Grammar School,” is formally incorporated, and moves to a rented building on Calle Colón. 1895 At the annual meeting of the Mexico Grammar School’s Board of Directors, a “solvent condition with a substantial balance” is announced, a tradition of sound financials that continues today. 1896 Harry Ingersoll becomes superintendent of the Mexico Grammar School. 1896 With enrollment at 114 students, the Mexico Grammar School moves to a new location at 1415 Avenida Morelos. The rent: 100 pesos per month. 1898 The Spanish-American War breaks out, causing a drop in enrollment. 1899 Mrs. G.E. Dawson becomes superintendent of the Mexico Grammar School.

From top to bottom: This ad appeared in a Mexico City English-language newspaper just weeks before the kindergarten that would evolve into the American School held its first session in August of 1888. A January 1909 clipping from the Mexico Herald, the major English-language newspaper at the time, provides a glimpse of American School life at that time, with no hint of the troubled years of revolution ahead. Charles E. Cummings, shown here with his family in front of their home in 1915, was Board president for most of the first 16 years of the 20th century and a key figure in the early development of the school.

A New Century and a Revolution

1902 H.H. Cronyn and Charles E. Cummings, a key figure in the consolidation of the American School, are the superintendent and Board president, respectively, by this time, and are credited with helping the school move forward after its wartime troubles. 18

Top: The cornerstone for the American School building at the corner of the streets San Luis Potosí and Insurgentes was laid on February 22, 1922. It would serve as ASF’s home until 1946. Left: The San Luis Potosí building (1922-1946}. Above: The auditorium at the San Luis Potosí campus was named for Lewis Lamm, who provided the architectural design for the school at no charge.

1902 Now housed in a larger building on Industria Street in Colonia San Rafael, the school adds a high school and accordingly changes its name to the Mexico City Grammar and High School. 1905 The American School Association is formed by a number of Mexico City businessmen, with Paul Hudson as the first president and Schuyler Herron as the superintendent until 1908. 1908 Wilbur Lynch begins a six-year term as superintendent of the American School Association, much of which will be during the Revolution years, a very difficult time for the school. 1910 The Mexican Revolution breaks out, curtailing foreign investment and decreasing school enrollment. But the school stays open. 1911 Charles E. Cummings returns as school president after a six-year absence and will serve into 1916. 1913 Because of the Decena Trágica, 10 days of violence in Mexico City following the assassination of President Madero, the school temporarily closes its doors, a rare occurrence in its history. 1914 Walter Thurston, later to become the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, graduates from The American School. 1914 U.S. troops land in Veracruz, creating a scare that results in an exodus of Americans, including Superintendent Lynch. 1915 By now, so few Americans are left in Mexico City that the high school is closed after the 1915 class graduates, restarting with a freshman class in 1917. One of the six 1915 graduates was Kingsley J. Niven, a school clerk as well as a student who took over as de

facto school administrator and ended up signing his own diploma. 1917 After his retirement, Charles E. Cummings is named honorary president of the Association. 1918 The worldwide influenza epidemic forces the school to close briefly. 1919 Edward Orrin, a British circus owner and one of the early developers of Colonia La Roma, offers a tract of land for a new school on the condition that enough money to construct the building can be raised by the end of the year. The effort fell short and the offer was withdrawn. 1919 Edna Clifton begins her 26-year teaching career at the school.

A Home of Our Own

1921 The American School Association is dissolved and replaced by a non-profit educational institution with a name familiar to all of us today — The American School Foundation, with its duration defined as “in perpetuity.” Its purpose was to establish a teaching institution that utilizes the most modern and effective teaching methods used in the United States. Founding members include S. Bolling Wright, Lewis Lamm, Edward Orrin, Harry Wright and Charles Cummings.

1921 Edward Orrin renews his offer of a donation of 10,577 square meters of land at the corner of San Luis Potosí and Insurgentes, this time as a gift. 1921 The American School’s first Parent Teacher Association is formed. 1922 The cornerstone of the new American School building is laid on February 22. The building, designed pro bono by Lewis Lamm, an architect who contributed to the atmosphere of the new Roma neighborhood, is ready in October. 1923 S. Bolling Wright begins his service as president of the Board, a position he will hold until 1952. 1923 Carleton Beales, an American journalist who had recently taught at the American School, publishes Mexico, An Interpretation. 1924 The school by this time boasts of a library, an infirmary, and an assembly hall. 1926 A successful fundraising drive raises enough money to liquidate a debt of nearly $200,000 pesos to Edward Orrin for the construction of the new school building. 1927 Dr. Henry L. Cain, a math teacher, becomes superintendent, a position he will hold until 1949. 1927 Anahuac, the school yearbook that continues to this day, makes its debut. 1929 The school’s goal of assuring its graduates a quality university education gets a boost 19

when Columbia University sends an expert evaluator who declares that “any graduate of the twelfth grade [of The American School] who is so recommended by the Superintendent of the school should be permitted to enter the freshman class of any standard [U.S.] college without examination.” 1929 Rafael García begins a career in custodial services at ASF that lasts more than half a century.


1931 Enrollment reaches 761, with 23 different nationalities represented. Typing and stenography are added to the curriculum. 1932 Monthly tuition by this time is $30 pesos for high school students, $25 pesos for elementary school and $20 pesos for Kindergarten. 1933 The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 1934 The school is accredited by the Mexican Public Education Secretariat. 1935 Biology teacher Álvaro Rodríguez begins a 36-year teaching career at ASF. 1938 Kathryn Blair, who in 1941 would start an ASF art department and who published her latest book on Mexican history, Forging a Nation, in 2011 while in her 90s, graduates from ASF.

c ampu s c urr e n t s

Left to right: By 1934, the year this picture was taken, ASF had been accredited by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Mexican Public Education Secretariat (SEP). This is the cafeteria that was closed down in 1968 after serving the school since the current campus was built in 1946. The beloved Palapa was the campus eatery during the 70s and 80s. Below: Students relax near the old Middle School building in 1975.

A New Home

1941 Math teacher J.C. Farley begins a 29year teaching career at ASF. 1945 Wright Owen (science) and Erna Miller (first grade) begin 25-year teaching careers at ASF. 1945 Too small for the school’s growing enrollment, the building on the corner of San Luis Potosí and Insurgentes is sold to Sears Roebuck for $516,000 dollars. That’s still not enough to pay for new construction on property acquired in Tacubaya, so Board President S. Bolling Wright lends the school $370,000 dollars, interest-free. 1946 The school moves into its new building in Tacubaya, where it remains to this day. 1949 Henry Cain retires as superintendent after 22 years of service, and is replaced by Jon W. Brille, who fills the position in a temporary role.


1950 Dr. William Todd takes over as superintendent. 1950 César Buenrostro graduates from ASF, and goes on to a career in public service, including serving as Mexico City’s secretary of public works. His son, also César Buenrostro (’85), is currently on the ASF Board of Trustees. 1951 The new superintendent is Roger Cundiff, who will stay on until 1955. 1952 Pedro Friedeberg, now one of Mexico’s most respected living artists, graduates from ASF.

1954 The school keeps moving forward as a modern institution, establishing in this era a curriculum office, improved accounting procedures, a visual aids department, and a student-teacher program. 1955 Ruth B. Wright, daughter-in-law of S. Bolling Wright, becomes the superintendent. Mrs. Wright’s service the school as a teacher, administrator and counselor will span from 1935 to 1983, even after which she continues her work as librarian. 1955 The precursor to today’s Communications Office is establishment when the school buys a printing machine and begins publishing, with some 65 publications circulated over the next eight years, providing the community with information about the school’s activities and programs. 1955 René Drucker, today one of Mexico’s leading physiologists and neurobiologists, and an outspoken public intellectual, graduates from ASF. 1956 Charles J. Patterson takes over as superintendent from Ruth B. Wright, and will serve until 1977, a period of great growth for ASF. 1957 An in-service training program is launched, providing ASF and other area teachers with college-credit courses to keep in touch with modern trends in education. The program will evolve into today’s strong emphasis on professional development for teachers. 1957 Susannah Glusker, who would later write the biography and edit the diaries of her mother, Anita Brenner, a pioneering 20

English-language chronicler of Mexican art and history (The Wind That Swept Mexico, Idols Behind Altars), graduates from ASF. 1958 A third floor is added to the Elementary (now Lower) School building, financed by a grant from the U.S. State Department and the sale of land to the ABC Hospital. 1959 Diana Anhalt, then Diana Zykovsky, who will go on to write the acclaimed A Gathering of Fugitives: American Political Expatriates in Mexico 1948-1965, graduates from ASF. 1959 An agreement is reached with UNAM (the National Autonomous University of Mexico) allowing ASF graduates to revalidate their studies and attend universities in the national system of higher education.


1962 By the end of the 1962-63 school year, a deferred compensation and retirement plan is initiated for the school’s 96 teachers, who are paid an average of $3,528 dollars a year to teach 1,550 students from 34 different nationalities. 1963 Renovation by Sears Roebuck of the former American School building on San Luis Potosí and Insurgentes unearths under the original cornerstone a box containing a trove of information about the school. 1964 The faculty consists by now of 96 teachers. 1965 Arthur Elian, one of the original 1888 Kindergarten students, passes away. 1966 The enrollment breakdown by this

time is 57 percent American, 35 percent Mexican and 8 percent other nationalities. 1966 Construction starts on a Middle School designed as a temporary facility. 1967 A group of businessmen calling themselves the Bear Boosters Club raise money for the construction of a swimming pool. The Bear Boosters Club remains active to this day. 1968 Anahuac, the high school yearbook, wins first place in competition against U.S. yearbooks, in a contest sponsored by the Columbia Scholastic Association of Yearbooks. 1968 The original school cafeteria, the kind

where you slide a tray along a shelf as you get your food, closes after 22 years of continuous service. 1969 A Kindergarten, now the ECC, is built on school property across Bondojito Street.


1970 Graduating in June are a record 176 seniors, nearly double the 90 graduates of six years early, a clear indication of the tremendous growth that took place at ASF in the 1960s. 21

1970 The first ASF Art Fair is held, the beginning of a 43-year tradition of supporting community artists, and later including the display of student work, bringing world-class art to the community and raising funds for campus improvement and financial aid for families who otherwise couldn’t afford an ASF education. 1971 The Bears Varsity Football team wins its first city championship, and the first of three straight, under legendary Coach Colman. 1979 A group of American School students form part of the welcoming committee for the


School buses at ASF, before and after the current Transportation Center.

February visit to Mexico City of U.S. President Jimmy Carter. 1983 The first ASF College Fair is held, giving future graduates a chance to meet representatives from a large selection of institutions of higher education from the United States, Mexico and other countries. 1983 The Center for Educational Development, what is now the Services for Academic Success, is initiated to provide students with learning disabilities with the means to achieve the full benefits of an ASF education, 1984 The school’s financial aid program is launched, with the creation of a contributionsupported endowment fund to provide tuition relief to families that need it. 1985 The school is undamaged by the historic earthquake that rocked Mexico City. In a community service effort, ASF students raise funds for the rebuilding of a local elementary school that was destroyed by the quake. 1988 The American School Foundation celebrates its 100th anniversary. For the occasion Ruth B. Wright and Katherine Castillon produced a hardcover history of the school appropriately entitled “Centennial.”

Going Global

1991 An opera program originally known as Creating Original Opera, is initiated, which over the years has seen Lower School students (today 4th graders) create and produce their own operas. 1994 The current Middle School building is completed, with its signature atrium design.

1998 Howard Gardner, the Harvard professor of psychology and education whose works such as Multiple Intelligences have profoundly influenced educational theory, becomes ASF’s first visiting “American School Visiting Scholar,” accepting an invitation to hold a conference at Mexico City’s Marquis Reforma Hotel for ASF parents, faculty and invited guests. 1999 Technology comes of age at ASF with the integration of more than 300 computers into the learning environment. 1999 An underground parking lot is built and opened. 2001 ASF is authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), which in keeping with the IB educational philosophy offers a curriculum in grades 9 through 12 that ensures that students receive an education focused on the ideals of international understanding and responsible world citizenship. 2002 Starting an annual tradition, 36 ASF students travel to the Oaxaca beach town of Mazunte to observe the turtle population and help the local community (see page 28). 2003 ASF adds the Middle Years Programme to its IB curriculum, which means that in grades 6 through 10 students receive an education focused on the ideals of international understanding and responsible world citizenship. 2003 The first annual ASF Golf Tournament is held. It has been a fundraising tradition ever since. 2004 The Transportation Center and 22

Coach Colman field are completed, with the Fighting Bears Alumni donating for the field lighting. 2005 A mandatory transportation system is implemented, requiring students to take the school bus. The policy helps reduce air pollution and avoid traffic congestion around the school. 2005 The Primary Years Programme is authorized for ASF for levels up to grade 5, completing the International Baccalaureate curriculum for the entire school. 2007 ASF adopts the Apple education initiative platform. 2009 The Upper School and Sheila Rafferty Ahumada Administrative Building remodeling project is completed, respecting the original Lamm building’s integrity while adding a third floor and creating a LEED-certified “green building.” 2010 The covered pool, which for more than a decade had replaced the outdoor pool that served the school in the 70s and 80s, is upgraded to semi-Olympic standards. 2010 The Athletics and Extended Learning departments are combined to create a Fifth Division. 2012 The Ángeles Espinosa Yglesias Fine Arts Center and the Jenkins Foundation Wellness Center, both financed by gifts and donations, open their doors on the ASF campus. 2013 125 years after student enrollment numbered nine and the faculty one, ASF now has for the 2012-2013 school year 2,570 students and 220 full-time professional teachers.


Play, Passion & Purpose The 43rd Annual ASF Art Fair brought the international community together for a festive day of creativity, innovation, camaraderie and lots of beautiful November sunshine.

Parent Association President Alma Rosa Rodríquez admires a student piece, along with ASF Board of Trustees Chair Rosa Marentes de Pisinger. The Parent Association organizes the Art Fair every year, a monumental undertaking. Because of their work, the fair raises a significant amount of funds for scholarships, capital improvements and other programs to improve education at ASF.

Work by professional artists filled the garden areas of the campus, some of it by ASF teachers past and present, as well as by former ASF students.

ASF Visual Arts Coordinator Patricia Patterson, speaking here alongside Artist of the Year Bernardo Berruga and Executive Director Paul Williams (and in full Andy Warhol regalia), coordinated the student art effort that resulted in a diverse and impressive display of talent.


here is nothing quite like the annual ASF Art Fair for transforming the ASF campus into a garden paradise of color, music, food and camaraderie. The 43rd annual edition of the fair last November 10 was indeed a feast for the senses – but also for the mind, as innovative artists ranging from students to faculty to community professionals to the iconic Andy Warhol challenged our perceptions and inspired our own urge to explore. ASF Executive Director Paul Williams summarized the spirit of the fair as he spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Citing the Harvard educator Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, Mr. Williams noted that creative people will start out playing with art, then become passionate about it, and finally find a way to make it purposeful. “You will see that concept throughout the fair today, with all our exhibitors and musicians, who moved from playing to passion to purpose,” he said. “And I think that speaks very well of what we try to do daily at the school.” Referring to Artist of the Year Bernardo Berruga (’12), described by his former teacher, ASF Visual Arts Coordinator Patricia Patterson, as something of a rebel when he first came to the school, Mr. Williams said, “Sometimes we like rebels. We may have to curb their enthusiasm some, but we encourage our students to challenge, we want them to think outside the box. That’s part of our philosophy as a school.”

The Warhol work that was shown on two floors of the Ángeles Espinosa Yglesias Fine Arts Center was not the familiar Pop Art of the 60s and 70s, but rather a rare look at his earlier drawings for Harper’s Bazaar, from the 50s and early 60s.

The Art-to-Art auction of student art as well as pieces from established artists attracted a crowd and raised funds for the school.

Music was a big part of the fair, with student performers offering a diverse selection of genres.


Bernardo Berruga (’12), shown here with his work, was the Artist of the Year for the Art Fair. He was also a symbol of the spirit of the fair — challenging the accepted norms to achieve creative innovation.

Student clubs raised funds by selling food and beverages.

Two youngsters stop to examine the Warhol-inspired silk screen work that was a part of the student art exhibit.

Students got into the Andy Warhol spirit of the fair, emulating the look of the social Pop Art scene that later surrounded the artist.


fami l y f o rum

You Have Options

For me, being in this “  school is investing in my future. I have high hopes for myself. I look forward to helping this school like it is helping me.

Financial aid is available to new or continuing ASF families who find it difficult to make full tuition payments. And it’s not just the recipients who benefit. The school as a whole gains diversity, an integral part of its mission.


I have been at this school since Kindergarten and love the school and my friends. I want to thank you for giving me financial aid for next year. Thank you for letting me stay at this school.

Students say a lot of impressive things. But when they talk about their appreciation for the financial aid they receive to attend The American School Foundation, they say the kinds of things that remind us of just how coveted an ASF education is. The youngster quoted above, who just stepped up to Middle School this school year, gets to the heart of what ASF’s financial aid program is all about with that expression of gratitude for being able to “stay in this school.” The impetus for financial aid came in the 1980s, after a crippling economic crisis struck the nation, including many ASF families. The Board of Trustees watched in dismay as student after student was forced to leave the school, for the simple reason that their parents could no longer afford to pay the tuition. The Board of Trustees members vowed that history would not repeat itself. Never again would deserving students see their education dreams dashed because of money. Thus was born a Financial Aid Program dedicated to providing tuition relief for those who need it, including new and returning students. Now, more than a quarter of a century later, financial aid is an integral part of ASF. About 12 percent of the student body receives financial aid, meaning there are some 320 students attending classes because of the tuition help their family is getting. One of the reasons that the financial aid program is so firmly established is that the school is proactive in promoting the program by spreading the word that help is available and encouraging families to explore their options rather than assuming that an ASF education is beyond their reach.

“We’re committed to recruiting families that want an ASF education for their children but can’t necessarily afford one,” says Director of Admission and Financial Aid Patsy Martin de Hubp.

My entire life has been “  shaped by what this school is and by what it represents. As an international institution it has allowed me to have friends from several countries, friends that I would otherwise not know, and I would understand their culture even less.

Another reason financial aid is a priority at ASF is its commitment to diversity, an integral part of the school’s mission and vision. The school’s Mission Statement reads: “The American School Foundation, A.C. is an academically rigorous, international, university preparatory school, which offers students from diverse backgrounds the best of American independent education. In all aspects of school life students are encouraged to love learning, live purposefully and to become responsible, contributing citizens of the world.” Financial aid offers a powerful tool for achieving increasing socioeconomic diversity as a direct result of extending help to qualified families who would not otherwise have the financial means to enroll their children in The American School Foundation. At the same time, the Financial Aid Program also helps the school achieve more diversity in terms of nationalities, religions and cultures. But there’s more. By definition, “diversity” is an ever-expanding concept. Efforts are under way to increase diversity not just in who the students and families are, but also in what their pursuits are. What does that mean? While an ASF education stresses a balance of academics, creativity and physical wellness, it is natural 26

for new or continuing students and their families to bring with them a special interest in a particular area — be it academics, the arts, athletics, community service, entrepreneurship, or other pursuits. By encouraging as broad a mix as possible in the kinds of particular interests its students and their families have, ASF adds an additional element of diversity to its campus while helping to strengthen its academic, artistic and athletics programs. It’s important to remember, however, that your area of special interest (or any other personal characteristic, for that matter) has nothing to do with your eligibility for financial aid. At ASF, you do not get a scholarship for being a gifted athlete, a talented musician or a whiz at math. Financial aid is strictly based on need. Financial aid recipients are required to maintain the same academic achievement levels as any other student, no more, no less. And of course, they are expected to put forth their best effort and demonstrate exemplary personal qualities. As it turns out, ASF financial aid students traditionally excel academically, and have become valedictorians, salutatorians, student body presidents and recipients of academic scholarships from toprate Mexican and American universities. Eligibility for tuition discounts through the school’s Financial Aid Program is determined solely based on demonstrated financial need. If you can demonstrate that your family finances cannot support paying full tuition, and your daughter or son is otherwise qualified to enroll or continue at ASF, you are a candidate for financial aid. The Financial Aid Program is a powerful tool for achieving the kind of diversity ASF seeks. Simply by enlarging the pool of potential applicants, financial aid makes it easier to achieve the desired mix. So not only do the recipients benefit from financial aid, the entire ASF community does as well. “We are seeking to recruit talented families and students with interests in the academics, the arts, athletics, community service or entrepreneurship, or other pursuits, who are not able to pay full ASF tuition,” Ms. Hubp says.

I couldn’t continue in this “  school without your help. I want to thank you with all of my heart for making my greatest dream possible, for one more year that I am receiving your help, which means the world to me. I believe what you do goes beyond financial aid to those families in need, but contributes to the greatest education possible that a child can obtain, and most importantly, makes ambitious dreams possible.

Financial aid not only benefits the recipients and the school as a whole, it also exemplifies the tradition of caring and community involvement that has been the hallmark of ASF. Quite literally, no ASF student would receive financial aid if not for the generosity of the ASF community, including students, parents, staff, alumni, friends and supporting organizations, as well as countless volunteers who organize events that raise funds for the Endowment Fund.

That’s because, as a non-profit institution, ASF uses revenue from tuition and fees to finance the day-to-day operations that provide an education to its students. Other efforts, such as the Annual Giving Program, raise funds to increase the amount of the Endowment Fund. As efforts to increase diversity move forward at ASF it will become critically important to raise funds from the community as well as from school events, such as the annual Art Fair organized by the Parent Association and the annual Golf Tournament organized by Institutional Advancement. Students pitch in as well, such as the ECC’s music CD sales; some classrooms and student clubs even donate leftover activity money to the cause. What that means is that current ASF students are contributing so that others can enjoy the same education that they are. Other funds come in from individuals, such as anybody reading this article. It’s hard to imagine a more personally satisfying way to support the American School Foundation than to donate to the Annual Giving Program. The value of doing so is clear in and of itself, but you also have the satisfaction of knowing that the students who receive the financial support are so grateful for the opportunity to experience the kind of education that will benefit them for their entire life. A glimpse at their comments in this article confirm that. (You can make a contribution, or find out more about donating to ASF, by going to the school website at and clicking on Support ASF.) 27

The first step toward receiving financial aid is to apply for it. Ms. Hubp urges any ASF family, or prospective ASF family in need, to take that step. With the Financial Aid Program growing in scope, the application period has been moved up on the calendar. For the 2013-2014 school year, the process started on October 22, 2012 and continues through January 18, 2013. This earlier application period brings the financial aid process closer in timing to the admission process. This way, new families who are applying for both admission and financial aid will get decisions on both at roughly the same time in the spring. That could help a lot of families with their planning. The financial aid process is not complicated but it’s very thorough. The application form, which you can pick up at ASF’s Admission and Financial Aid Office (5227-4954) after paying a $700-peso fee at the Cashier’s Office, asks for detailed information about your family income and expenditures, along with documents to back up the information. Once your application is received, a home visit will be scheduled, in which a representative from a contracted socioeconomic studies firm will verify the financial information. The visit is friendly, but (again) very thorough. The reason for all the thoroughness, of course, is that the decision on financial aid eligibility is based solely on economic need, and therefore accurate information is essential. Eligibility does not mean automatic approval, for the simple reasons that financial aid funds are not limitless and family circumstances can change. The final decision is made by the Financial Aid Committee, made up of anonymous ASF community members who operate in total confidentiality. In fact, everything about the financial aid process is held in strictest confidence, including the identity of scholarship students throughout their years in school. What ASF families — present and future — need to know is that financial aid is there for those who need it. Whatever your decision may be about an ASF education for your children, it need not be based solely on concerns about paying the tuition. You have options!

F OC U S ON e du c a t i o n

Along with delivering the educational materials, the Turtle Trip that cites the National Mexican Turtle Center, the number of turtle nests volunteers made themselves useful at the school and nearby medical increased from 60,000 in 1988 to nearly 700,000 within a decade. For all its entrepreneurial spirit, however, Mazunte is still a devel- center. The group brought enough books for about 100 students in oping, rural economy, with many of the attendant standard of living first grade through fifth grade, so the school also needed space to put the new materials. While some students built issues that arise from low income levels and a lack shelves that could be used for storing medical of access to basic services. Part of the mission supplies or school books, others played with the of ASF’s Turtle Trip this year was to distribute Many students schoolchildren and enjoyed spending time with educational materials to the distant coastal comthe community. “I really love spending time with munity. Partnering with the Public Education children, so my favorite part of community serSecretariat (SEP) here in Mexico, students and were as excited about vice was playing with the kids, spending time at teachers brought three large boxes of books and the opportunity for the school, and showing them how to use the other educational materials for the local school. camera,” said Lucia Ocejo (’14). While the eponymous purpose of the trip is community engagement For others, ecology and biology played a to witness the nesting of sea turtles on the coast, and serving the local greater role in deciding to attend. Senior Zuriel many students were as excited about the opportunity for community engagement and serving the human community as they Avila noted that he didn’t see any nesting turtles on the trip last year, so he wanted to try again. local human community as they were about seeing “I’m looking forward to actually seeing the turtles any reptiles. Participants agreed beforehand that were about seeing any lay their eggs this year,” he said before the trip. meeting new people, having a rural experience in reptiles. The nearby beaches have long been a favored a Mexico they don’t often see, and spending time place for marine turtles during the nesting seaaway from the city with their peers and respected leaders were important factors in deciding to go on the trip. “It’s a son, which begins in May and lasts for several months. According to a unique opportunity to spend time with my friends in a community that contested theory, the name Mazunte may be derived from the Náhuatl I have never been to before,” said Alex Terminel (’13). Others noted that word maxotetia which means “deposit eggs here.” The coastal land it was a way to provide community service in a part of the country that around the beaches was settled only after the emergence of significant demand for turtle meat and eggs in the early 20th century, and its does not have the material comforts taken for granted elsewhere.


Turtle Trip

With community service high on the agenda, the annual visit to the turtle nesting beaches of Oaxaca was as much about people as reptiles.

By Bret Sikkink, ASF Teacher


This rural village experienced boom years in the 1970s, when a large turtle slaughterhouse provided jobs and income for much of the residents. But later it began re-fashioning its economic development. By forming a cooperative called Natural Mexican Cosmetics of Mazunte, 15 founding families began producing and selling their own line of cosmetics in 1996. The industry is one of the largest employers in town along with a market for “bio-architecture,” or natural building materials: new construction in the village must be made of natural materials that blend with existing architecture. Mazunte has declared its land a “Reserva Económica Ecológica Campesina” or an ecological reserve that promotes and recognizes local efforts to eliminate the hunting of sea turtles and their eggs and to preserve the habitats necessary for their nesting. According to a 2010 article

n Wednesday October 12, a group of ASF students led by teachers Luis Cárdenas and Rubén Martinez left Mexico City for the beaches of Oaxaca. This Turtle Trip had multiple purposes, all directly related to the ASF mission. Among them were ecological study, environmental protection and community service in and around the small coastal community of Mazunte. Once a military enclave for the Aztecs and later a major processing center of turtle meat and eggs for human consumption, Mazunte has seen its fortunes go up and down over the years. Today, it’s the home of the Mexican Turtle Center and part of a greater area of ecotourism on the Pacific coast. Mazunte has partnered with international cosmetics company The Body Shop to distribute products made with local ingredients. 28


F OC U S ON e du c a t i o n


The following night they witnessed an even more amazing event, population boom began in the early 1970s with the construction of a known as an arribada. For a few nights after a full moon in matlarge slaughterhouse which butchered around 30,000 animals a year. From the outset, many environmentalists believed that the slaugh- ing season, thousands of olive ridleys (or golfinas in Spanish) come terhouse was illegally processing many more turtles than that, espe- ashore for nesting. “If you stood still for more than five seconds on cially for their eggs, which were traditionally thought to be an aphrodi- the beach there was a turtle walking into you,” said Lucia Ocejo. While arribadas are well known among the local population, the siac. Due to the concerns they raised, a significant movement toward restoration and preservation of reptile habitats grew, and today many timing was excellent luck for the 2012 Turtle Trip. It was also good species of marine turtles come to the Mazunte coastal area to lay their news for conservationists and scientists at the National Turtle Ceneggs. Estimates by the Mexican National Turtle Center put the num- ter. After Hurricane Carlota made landfall nearby last summer, the National Turtle Center issued an emergency ber at nearly a million per year. alert regarding nursing golfinas in the area. So A number of species inhabit the Oaxaca coast: The students were able this large nesting group came as a relief In addition to community service and the opportunity to witness a biological phenom• The olive ridley is a small, 2-foot-long sea to watch, up close and enon, there are other reasons for the success turtle that arrives in Mazunte for nesting. personal, as the mother of this trip. Students got to tour the Mazunte • The hawksbill is a larger, brown-colored cosmetics cooperative, and commented that omnivorous turtle that is frequently spot- turtle dug her hole, laid the high quality of the soaps and lotions made ted locally. • Also about 3-4 feet, an endangered sub- the eggs, covered them up, them indistinguishable from what we buy in the stores here. They also got to see first-hand how species of the green sea turtle known loand went back to sea – it the eco-tourism niche has created a market opcally as the prieta or black turtle is found in portunity for local businesses to attract tourists relatively large numbers on local beaches, all took about an hour. who want to see the beach but are not looking according to the Mexican National Turtle for the all-inclusive resort experience. Center. For some students, leaving the comfort of • The rarest treat in Mazunte, however, is a sighting of the leatherback, a 7- to 8-foot-long smooth-shelled their bed and the city is a challenge. Reactions were mixed on sleepreptile weighing nearly a ton. This is the world’s largest turtle, ing in tents on the beach; some said it was fun while others were simply too hot. Alex Terminel preferred to sleep on the beach under but it’s not found in large numbers in Mexico. • An additional six species of freshwater turtles, including the the stars. One day the wind picked up off the ocean and collapsed all the common snapping turtle, and two species of land turtles can be tents and everyone had to re-make their camp. And the humidity found near the warm coastal beaches. was a factor for others: “As soon as you stepped out of the shower In an exciting change from last year, the trip was a resounding success you were sweating again and sand was stuck to you,” said Bernardo for turtle-watching. The first night on the beach, the students and teachers Suarez (’13). Even with these few discomforts, the 2012 Turtle Trip were treated to a small group of turtles coming to shore. The students were was a memorable experience: helping out a small local school, seeing able to watch, up close and personal, as the mother turtle dug her hole, laid the development of a village through eco-tourism and cosmetics, and the eggs, covered them up, and went back to sea – it all took about an hour. having the rare opportunity to witness a mass arrival of turtles on the beach made the whole experience worthwhile. As Zuriel Avila enthused, “We got to watch the whole process!”



The first challenge we faced was, of course, getting submissions. Artists and writers are infamous for being highly insecure about their art. But I found an effective way to make them feel at ease, which was to share with them poems I wrote as a child and that I hoped were long forgotten. These poems made such a big deal out of my cat’s funeral that other artists, once they were aware of the incompetence of my previous work, felt encouraged to submit their own. In addition to this rather embarrassing tactic, calling the artists on a daily basis, sending them a friendly email or a Facebook reminder followed by an occasional text or re-tweet, would generally suffice for them to give up on their privacy. Every submission was a staff victory in an open ring match against the artists’ protective nature. 
Once we had a good stack of submissions, we started the review process. We got a submission consisting of a pizza recipe. It came from a teacher, and we eventually figured out it wasn’t a joke. We also got a plagiarized zombie apocalypse short story with significant amounts of gore and a suicidal sonnet dealing with withering roses and poison-filled cucumber-dill salad. We were forced to face a very ugly truth: nobody was taking us seriously. If you weren’t part of the National Honors Society, the Debate Club or some other legendary, well-established and trophy-earning club, you might as well not exist at all. And then I felt what I thought was rage forming inside my stomach, but it was actually determination in its purest form. 
While we battled against the school community’s general idea that we were failures taking the easy path in life, we adopted a new short-term goal: to attend the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s spring convention. This was the oh-so-awaited opportunity to learn how to put our volatile ideas into a physical, paper-ink format. But we needed rather large amounts of money to achieve this. Hence we were thrown into the fundraising world in which the Drama Club and the Asian Club were titans. We were playing with fire here. Still, in this jealousy-inspired world, we managed to create our own empire in alliance with Domino’s Pizza, and our good friend the microwave. Before the first semester was over, we had successfully created a pizza monopoly at the school fairs. Weeks before the publication of the first issue of the magazine, now called Repentino, the library (where we worked) became chaos. The active people were crashing into each other, while others would eat compulsively without being of much help. The moment we received a confirmation e-mail from the printer we felt as if we had been hit in the head so hard that everything around became blurry. It was done. Repentino was real and for the first time, the American School Foundation and the world would be able to witness the results of our sweat. 
I now hold the title of editor-in-chief, which really just means that the skyscraper-sized challenges did not scare away that zeal for success that was eating me alive when it all started. We jumped from three enthusiasts to many, from complete anonymity to readers even paying money for a copy. We went from absolutely nothing to ASF’S Most Active Club of the Year¨ and silver medalist at the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. The best part of this sudden success is that it proves that even ambitious goals are within reach. Through Repentino, I have seen my dreams become my project, which has turned into something pretty close to what I wanted it to be in the first place.

Dreams into Print A brief look at the constant determination and occasional humiliation that resulted in the creation of ASF’s literary magazine. By Camila de la Parra, ASF Senior


n a school where smart young men and sharp young women strive to learn the tricks and turns of economics and juggle the hardships of advanced calculus, it is somewhat hard to make room for the arts. They may have no idea what the purpose of a literary magazine may be. Maybe that´s why Reflections, the former literary magazine of the American School Foundation, was so underground that only a handful of people knew about it. 
When I first came to the school and found out about this small black and white magazine from past years, I looked for refuge under its wing. Words were the only thing I was familiar with in this alien environment where I was classified as the new kid. So I and a few others decided to try to revive it. We ate large amounts of pizza during the weekly meetings of our new literary club. We didn’t do much other than speak of a utopia in which the club would be larger than three people. Through constantly imagining what this magazine could become, our recreational lunch activity turned into a burning zeal for success. 31

i n s t i t u t i o n a l adva n c e m e n t

The 7 Pillars of Support

Golf, Fun and Support for Scholarships

The 2012-2013 Annual Giving Program offers seven ways for ASF community members to support the school’s mission and its students.


to achieve 100% participation across all constituencies. You may make a gift in the amount that you feel most comfortable with because regardless of the size, each gift is appreciated. Every gift fulfills a need, enhancing the unique experience that is an ASF education. Why give to ASF? Here are three very good reasons: • Because your gift will support academic enrichment programs that go beyond the budget and elevate student learning to the next level. • Because your support provides the margin of excellence that distinguishes our school from others. • Because your gift for ASF scholarships increases student body diversity, thereby enriching our community and creating a learning environment that produces global citizens and future leaders. To find out more about the Annual Giving Program 7 Pillars of Support, you may log onto the ASF web site and click on Support ASF. Then click onto Annual Giving Program, where you will find descriptions of each of the 7 Pillars and how your gift can make a difference. There is also a short video which you may view on the main page of the school’s web site that describes the importance of the 7 Pillars to our ASF programs. Our 2012-2013 Annual Giving Program Goal is $5,000,000 pesos. Thank you for your support in helping us get there!

ow has ASF grown and flourished over the last 125 years? It’s due in large part to the tremendous support the school has received from our community. This year the Annual Giving Program will provide the opportunity for the entire ASF community to demonstrate our support for our students in all major areas of the school. The Annual Giving Program is a community-wide fundraising approach that reaches out to all ASF families, faculty, staff, alumni, friends of the school and students. This year’s Annual Giving Program, “7 Pillars of Support,” is aimed at addressing the greatest needs of the school that have been identified by our faculty and administration in the areas of Athletics, Arts, ECC, LS, MS and US, as well as Scholarships. ASF is a non-profit school that operates on a break-even budget. Tuition covers salaries, basic campus maintenance and basic educational expenses. With your support we can enrich ASF’s programs and maintain our high standard of education by bridging the gap between the operating budget and the school’s greatest needs. You may choose which area or areas of the school you wish to support this year. As in any Annual Giving Program, participation is more important than the size of the gift. Our aim is to not only reach our financial goal, but also

First Category


lub de Golf Bosque Real was the scene of ASF´s 10th Annual Golf Tournament on Monday, November 5, with 112 enthusiastic golfers competing for glory and for prizes. There was also a live auction, in which winning bidders took home such valuable items as two premier tickets to Madrid donated by Aeromexico and a plasma screen donated by LG. A complete list of the sponsors and tournament winners follows. All funds raised from the tournament go to the Scholarship Pillar of the Annual Giving Program.

Best O’Yes: Juan Carlos García Longest Drive (Women): Esther Uribe Longest Drive (Men): Lutfalah Bachaalani

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

Second Category

Sven Wallsten Roberto Lebosse Fernando Villaseñor Esther Uribe

Juan Carlos García Prieto Miguel Ángel Webber Álvaro Soto Sergio Tabe

Tom Sullivan Travis Ingram José Cerna Craig Robinson

David Hubp Patsy Hubp Alejandra Salazar Eduardo Correa

Eduardo Amzquita Antonio Recamier Armando Castillo Javier Hirschfeld

Felipe Bada José Manuel Farah Roberto Mollinedo Luis Braniff

A big thank you to the sponsors that made this tournament a success: Marinter, Scotiabank, Corppi, ABC Hospital, La Cava de los Amigos, Tequila Herradura, Aeromexico, Telcel, AON, Bestel, LIPU, Toyota Financial Services, Lorant, Haciendas Mundo Maya, Cisco, Grupo Presidente, Tecnolomet, Goldman Sachs, LG, Bosque Real, CoolSculpting, Navix, MEI, Devlyn, Warranty Group . And a big thank you to the tournament’s organizing committee: Sven Wallsten (’91) (chair), Carlos Williamson, Fernando Gutiérrez, Gonzalo Barrutieta, Patsy Hubp, Tom Sullivan.

Kickoff Cocktail Valued supporters of the Annual Giving Program watch a presentation during the Annual Giving Program Kickoff Cocktail in October.

The Annual Giving Program Committee Standing, from left to right: Violet Perez, Christina Moguel, Alma Rosa Rodríguez, Beatriz Diaque, Claudia Delgado, Joan Liechty (Chair), Ceci Saba, Marta Salinas, Ana Isa Álvarez Losada, Vero Aguilar, Marissa Russell. Seated: Paul Williams.



i n s t i t u t i o n a l adva n c e m e n t

a l um n i p r o f ile

Meet the Capital Campaign Steering Committee


hroughout the 2012-2013 school year the Capital Campaign Steering Committee is seeking support to renovate the arts classrooms next to the new theater, as well as to equip the Ángeles Espinosa Yglesias Fine Arts Center and the Jenkins Foundation Wellness Center, our two beautiful new buildings pictured on this page. The Capital Campaign’s 2012-2013 Annual Goal: $10,000,000 pesos. The members of the Capital Campaign Steering Committee, most of whom are seen in the photo here, are: Co-Chairs: Blanca Santacruz, Aliki Elias (’85) Members: Mark Hojel (’87), Carlos Aiza (’86), Carlos Williamson, Marilú Hernández, Alexandra Franco, Laura Herman, Jorge Arce, Juan Antonio Cortina, Rosa Pisinger (’87), Frances Huttanus, Paul Williams.

Groundbreaking Roberto Castillo (’02) and Andros Tabares (’02) are offering solutions through technology. By Cindy Tanaka (’91)


RSVPMX is Software as a Service (SaaS) platform. It administers events through a Web portal and mobile applications. We at ASF used this platform to organize and administer the recent Alumni Breakfast (see page 37). It was a rewarding and successful experience. Explore Mexico is a platform focused on tourism. It is accessible through a Web portal and mobile applications, and permits tourists and other travelers to access information related to travel. Why did these two alumni decide to get into this type of business? “Technology has the quality of scalability,” Andros says, “Any system, network or process has the ability to enlarge and accommodate growth. And it’s fun!” Says Roberto, “In the technological world there’s never a ‘no’ for an answer. It’s like playing a chess game; you can always find the solution. And there are no limits.” Andros and Robert have committed themselves to be a team that can serve the needs of any customer in Mexico or the rest of the world. They decided to establish their business in Mexico because they want to help their country, and because they have discovered that Mexican programmers are talented. They feel there are no barriers. As they would say, they love to create, not recreate.

oberto Castillo (’02) and Andros Tabares (’02) first became friends in K1 at ASF. Their friendship grew over the years. A mutual vision for the future was created. After graduation, they went their separate ways. Roberto studied architecture at Universidad Iberoamericana and Andros business administration and entrepreneurship at Universidad Anahuac Norte. Roberto then ran his own firm for five years and created his own construction-related business. Andros worked for Scotiabank for about four years and later went to Boston to study for his MBA. But they stayed in touch. And they started envisioning what is now a reality, – Groundbreaking Technologies (GBRTEC). Robert and Andros describe GBRTEC as a compelling innovation that adapts technology services and products to the requirements of today’s society. It uses state-of-the-art technology for creative solutions. It is constantly interacting and experimenting with new ideas. Creating a team of experts in different disciplines to explore fresh and new ideas that comply with costumer needs, Roberto and Andros identified new ways of serving and supporting those customers GBRTEC has done this by developing two different platforms, RSVPMX and Explore Mexico. 34


a l um n i E V E NTS

The Alumni Bowl: A Tradition Continues The ASF Alumni Fighting Bears played the traditional game against Gamos-CUM on September 1, continuing with the Alumni Bowl tradition. It was a memorable event, full of cheers, spirit and fun. The Alumni Bears won once again, 12-7. The Bears 2012: José Alejandro Zepeda (’96), Víctor Suárez (’09), Juan José Suárez (’10), Mauricio Quintana (’00), Rubén Contreras (’07), Blake Davis (’11), Santiago Cueto (’04), Gerardo García (’05), Farid Hussein Pérez-Palacios (’08), Leon Merikanskas (’93), Arturo Chaltelt (’00), Arturo Gómez (’00), Víctor Campomanes (’02), Jonathan Davis (’08), Diego García Cacho (’04), David Weingarten (’09), Jonathan Salomon (’03), Sonny Tabares (’07), Alberto Gómez (’07), Paul Jowett (’02), José Guillen (’98), Amin Cárdenas (’01), David Tarrab (’99), Pablo Cervantes (’00), Ramsés Franco (’05), Alfredo Siman (’10), Seung Cheol Lee (’10), Kevin Orozco (’12), Raul Barclay (’04), Carlos Helguera (’04) and Fernando Madrazo (’04). Congratulations to all!

Career Day 2012 This year’s Career Day took place September 28, 2012, giving Upper School students the opportunity to understand and learn more about future opportunities. Thirty outstanding ASF Alumni, one faculty member and one parent came to talk to the Upper School students about their personal and professional experiences, as well as the different careers, giving the students a larger view of the different possibilities they have.

Where Are You?

If you ever attended ASF, we’re looking for you! Please update your information by sending an e-mail to right away. We want to keep you up to date on all the ASF news as well as informed about upcoming alumni events. Keep in touch! 36

ASF Alumni Get Together For Breakfast

Special thanks to: Beatriz Estrada (’74), Quique Ollervides (’92), Eugenia Kuri (’04), Santiago Brockmann (’90), Pablo Álvarez (’02), Daniel Weiss (’96), Juan de Yturbe (’97), Rubí Blancas (’95), Arturo Martínez (’00), César Buenrostro Moreno (’85), César Buenrostro Hernández (’50), Mauricio Quintana (’00), Arturo Gómez (’00), Allan Fis (’95), Judy Goldman (’73), Claudio Hall (’87), Santiago Kneeland (’98), Alejandra Ornelas (’91), Sebastián De Lara (’04), Larry Rubín (’93), Jan Smith (’92), Mark Alazraki (’98), Mauricio Serrano (’95), Gabriela Morett (’85), Pablo Cervantes (’00), Roberto Castillo (’02), Andros Tabares (’02), Blanca Elena Velázquez (’93), Michelle Westholm (faculty member) and Martha Konigs (parent).

The spacious indoor court of the new Jenkins Foundation Wellness Center was alive with alumni on Saturday, October 27, as more than 150 former ASF graduates from as far back as 1939 gathered to celebrate our 125th anniversary, continue their ties with the school, renew old friendships and make new ones. The day was capped off with the Homecoming football game (we won!), and also included a display of work by artists-alums in the equally new Ángeles Espinosa Yglesias Fine Arts Center. There was a special video commemorating ASF’s 125th anniversary, and a loop of photographs that elicited an emotional response. A special thanks to all the alums who attended the event, and especially for the support of Mauricio Quintana (’00) and the entire Alumni Council, as well as the Alumni Breakfast Committee. Let’s make this a tradition! 37

a l um n i r eu n i o n s

a l um n i cla s s n o t e s


Ted Lopatkiewicz retired in 2011 after more than 37 years of federal service. He spent his last 25 years in the government with the National Transportation Safety Board, and was director of public affairs upon his retirement. During his time at the NTSB, he was on 55 “Go Teams” to major transportation accidents around the United States, directing the agency’s press operation. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia. He has been a volunteer tour guide at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and is a trustee of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in McLean, Virginia. He has begun teaching English as a Second Language classes for recent immigrants. A grandfather of two, Lopatkiewicz lives with his wife, Drucie Andersen (a graduate of the American High School in Rio de Janeiro), in McLean.

1982: Like Old Times in PV With 80 guests in town, we celebrated our 30-year reunion in Puerto Vallarta June 15-17. Dreams Casamagna Hotel was our headquarters. The organizing committee did an awesome job, putting on a three-day party. It all started with an excellent taquiza at Carlos Padilla’s home on our first night. Second day — sun, drinks, leisure and lots of fun by the pool throughout the day. By 7:00 p.m. people were ready for the ball held at Casa Las Palapas with a cocktail party that went on until 4:00 a.m. Saturday night was the big event, and with our hippie dinner party it turned out to be a spectacular night. And thanks to the wonderful weather it was even more fun than expected. We all gathered inside the big palapa, and danced, jumped, limped, sang and laughed like old times. A one-ofa-kind crowd! —rosario lemus

cards. Zim expects to have a lasting impact on the sciences and mathematical sciences with this work. He hopes to see the AHS Bears at Booth #425. More Zim math news can be viewed at:

I n mem o r iam • William “Bill” Ray Streun (’58) passed away of cancer July 12, 2012, in Seguin, Texas. His wife, Gail Elizabeth Moore Streun and their son Nathan Edward Streun survive him. He will be missed.


John G. Benitez, MD, MPH associate professor of clinical medicine and associate professor of emergency medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee has been elected to the Board of Trustees of the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology.

• Dr. Martha (Marty) Lazcano Muguira (’65) passed away peacefully surrounded by her loved ones on August 5, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. Marty served the Richmond community for 12 years as clinical director and program manager at St. Joseph’s Villa, followed by a distinguished stint as executive director of Homeward. She will be remembered with love. • On Saturday September 15, 2012, Carlos Schon (’57) passed away of cancer, surrounded by his loved ones. Carlos was an active alumni, volunteer and supporter of ASF and will be greatly missed.


Zim Olson (the alum formerly known as Kim Olson) is scheduled to have a Zim Mathematics Exhibit at the Joint Math Meeting in San Diego January 9-12, 2013. He will make available 600 DVDs summarizing his mathematics to the over 7,000 mathematicians expected to attend. Not to mention free raffles of Zim Math T-shirts for conference registered participants, literature and math art business

• Mary Agnes Pogolotti (’57), “Pogo,” as everybody knew her, passed away on September 22, 2012, in France after a difficult battle with cancer for the last four months. She will be in our hearts forever.” • Victor M. Calderon G. (’55) passed away in October of 2012. Nichis (his nickname) was a star fullback on the football team. He is survived by his brother Eduardo “Lalo” Calderon (’57), sisters Linda (’61), Sally (’64), and Lydia (’65) his son Roberto (’88). He married Nancy McGregor (’57) and had a successful marketing career in companies such as P&G, Pepsi, Duracell and Colgate. • Former ASF teacher and alum Leopoldo Garcia-Colin (’48) passed away Monday, October 8, 2012. He was 81 years old. • Former staff member and alumna Marjorie “Mayo” Moll (Orellana) (’43) passed away in May of 2012 at her home at Cuernavaca, Morelos. She will be greatly missed. • Bill N. Goodrich (’58), age 72, passed away on Thursday, October 18, 2012. Born in San Antonio, Texas on February 18, 1940, he was the son of Emmett and Margaret West Goodrich. He had been a resident of Boerne since 2009 and was a member of St. John Anglican Church. Bill had been an insurance agent for 36 years and had worked until just a few months before his passing. Preceded in death by his parents, Bill is survived by his wife, Roberta; sons, Mark Goodrich and David Goodrich; half-sister, Merna Shilling. To leave a message for the family, please visit


Patty Driessen visited ASF on July 20, 2012 with her family. We were very happy to receive Patty (pictured here with her family) and show her around the ASF campus.


1992: Back Together On September 8, 2012 old friends got back together at Kash in Mexico City, 20 years after they had graduated from ASF. Many came from faraway lands to spend time with old acquaintances, make new friends, connect and reminisce. We spent more than nine hours together catching up and laughing about old times. People who were old timers and had not seen each other since before graduation were happy to get back in touch. We discovered that students from our class had become doctors, teachers, mothers, fathers, businesspersons, engineers, artists, pilots, collectors... and now friends. Thanks to this event we can now keep in touch on Facebook at the official site of the Class of ’92 at 38

Jessica Boyatt visited ASF for a campus tour on June 19, giving her a look at the new facilities and other changes in the last 20 years. It was great to have her back and meet her family.


On September 10, alumna Martha Euresti (’92) visited ASF. We were glad to have her back home and to show her the changes and renovations that have occurred on campus since her graduation.

mile s t o n e s

On April 24, 2012 Britt Skerianz (’90), Guillermo Espinosa and Julian Espinosa Skerianz welcomed the arrival of Nathalie. 39

k id s ’ c o r n e r

Blood Parents, Heart Parents Story and Art by Alexia Harvey Irabien, Third Grade Student


“Where did they live before moving to the orphanage?” asked the gentleman. “They come from a very poor village, the poorest of Haiti.” The married couple said: “Well, no more talking about sad things and let’s fill out all the documents that are required to adopt all three.” “OF COURSE!” said the nun, excited. The presentation was full of love, the three children were happy for their new parents and a new life began when they were taken to the hotel. At the hotel, their new parents told the children: “Tomorrow, we will get your passports and go to our new home, to your true and new life in Miami, Florida.” With their new passports, the children traveled immediately and soon arrived in Miami. They never imagined there was such a big place, with tall buildings and beautiful homes. There was a school, where they were enrolled to study and grew happily, remembering their blood parents, who chose to give them away, rather then to see them dead, but now living happily always with their heart parents.

here were two girls and a boy, very cute but poor. They were siblings and their names were: Kim, Angina and Luis. They lived in Haiti, which is one of the poorest places in the world, where people only survive from fishing. Haiti was at war for independence from the French and the children were very frightened because, every day, they saw many bombs and bullets falling to the floor dangerously. As they had nothing to eat or water to drink, their parents said: “Let’s take the three children to the orphanage. There we can get some money for our children and, somehow, at least they would be fed and not starve.” Mom and dad went to their children’s room and told them: “Children, let’s walk into town.” The children answered: “It’s too far away. We will never get there by walking.” Mom said: “Don’t worry, we’ll go in dad’s tractor. ” The children got onto the tractor, at the rear, and mom and dad at the front, driving. The children fell asleep, tired from the long trip to the city in the tractor and when they woke up they were in a room with many beds. There were shouts, cries of babies and children. “Where are we?” asked Kim. Luis, the youngest said: “IN AN ORPHANAGE!” The three siblings ran to where they heard cries, laughter and games. There was a courtyard where there were a million children, very active all of them, running around the orphanage. This orphanage was also poor, but never like their parents, since bighearted people from other parts of the world supported the orphanage. The three siblings wore clothes torn by war and the poverty of their parents. The others wore nice clothes with bright colors, donated by children from all over the world. A girl came up to the three siblings and said, “Come out and play!” Although parents left them at the orphanage, they knew it was better for them to be there and not starve and be dying for being poor. The three siblings came to the orphanage at different ages, Kim of five, Angina of four and Luis of two. The other children explained that sometimes, hopefully, foreigners came and took them to be their new parents and have a family life. Days and days came and passed by, but no one adopted them, until one day an American married couple who could never have children, came to see the children and saw that the three siblings were very close. The lady told the nun at the orphanage: “I want one of those three.” And the nun said: “It’d be so sad to separate them because they are siblings.” “Then, I want these three adorable kids!” said the lady.

You, like every person in the world, need love and you must have a family, get an education, food and health. In Haiti, as around the world, there are people with poor houses, who do not eat, do not bathe. In your own country, here in Mexico, there are children dying of hunger and cold, who get sick but there is no one to cure them. HELP THEM! Because we all need to be respected and every child in the world should have the same rights, rich or poor, no matter where you were born. We all are children who feel the same. Respecting each other and helping each other is one of the most important things in life. Do you know that there are people who care about you? You must not only give what you have left, but give it with love. But if you do not care about anything but getting more and more and more and not give anything back, then imagine how YOU would feel about not having anything at all, and even to lose your parents. So FEEL AND CHANGE NOW! Do something for those in need, be nice to others and change. If you are kind and want to change the life of someone else, learn to think not only about yourself, but think of the poor and help them, and make them feel happy even if it is just once! You’re just like the other children. The only difference is that you are lucky to be born to a mom and dad who give you everything you need. But if you do not change, tomorrow it could be you who is poor. You may not know this, but perhaps a cousin of yours is poor. You can be friends with a child who has nothing, because we all are equal, children who play and feel the same. Just think for a moment and change. Think how many children die from not eating or drinking water daily. Think how many children die from not having medicine. How would you feel if the child who is about to die of thirst, hunger, cold or disease were YOU? Just think. Just think this for a minute of your life! 40

justice understanding truth

Focus, Winter 2012-2013  

A magazine for alumni, parents, students, faculty & friends

Focus, Winter 2012-2013  

A magazine for alumni, parents, students, faculty & friends