Cecilia and Samuel were in pursuit of every educator’s dream: to establish their own school and carry out the pedagogical project they envisioned; to find the ideal location, idealistically chosen, in a peaceful natural environment, aligned with the school’s environmental perspective.
Finally, in August 1992, we found a country house. It was a 350m² house with a 1400m² area. There, we arranged courtyards, galleries, classrooms, administrative offices, a dining area and a kitchen. Throughout the process of developing the educational project, we were accompanied by a retired supervisor, Miss Alé, affectionately known as Porota, whom we always remember fondly.
We opened our doors on March 5th, 1993, with 32 students in kindergarten 5, 1st, 2nd and 3rd forms, a Vice Principal, 4 full-time teachers, an art teacher, a physical education teacher and a music teacher. We also had an English teacher, an assistant janitor and a gardener.
In its early days (1993), the school had one computer per classroom, allowing students to access the world in search of information to build their meaningful learning experiences, at a time when the internet was just beginning. The tables were set up for 6 students to promote collaborative learning. The chalkboards were replaced with whiteboards to protect the teachers’ respiratory health. There was plenty of greenery, a garden, a playground and a focus on creativity.
Among the existing plants that remain are a pomegranate tree, a quince tree, some fig trees, a Siberian cypress at the entrance, some Spanish plum trees, rose bushes, privets, almond trees, apple trees and a dwarf magnolia.
In 1998, we introduced the country’s first e-learning platform, El Sabio.com, which was a revolutionary advancement at the time and foreshadowed the future of other learning platforms. However, it failed due to inadequate connectivity and the resistance of the teaching community to embrace it as a tool. It took several years to finally achieve one of the founding purposes of the school: connectivity with global knowledge as an instant learning tool.
The first school camping trip took place in Arroyito in 1993, followed by bicycle rides, visits to Ruca Choroy and Calfiquitra trail; then, the first educational trip to Buenos Aires visiting places such as the Illuminated Block (Manzana de las Luces), Casa Rosada, the National Congress and the “Prohibited Not to Touch” Fair (1996), among others. The first trip to the United States occurred in 1997.
In 1999, we successfully organised the first bicycle ride to the 7 Lakes, from Villa la Angostura to San Martín de los Andes!!! In 2000, we crossed the Andes by bicycle, from Junín de los Andes to Pucón, facing sun, rain, snow and lots of joy.
In 2002, the first graduating class received their secondary school diploma with a FOCUS ON ECONOMICS AND ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT.
Meanwhile, the school continued its journey towards educational excellence. According to Aristotle and in agreement with our beliefs, excellence is not an achievement but a habit. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” We participated in science, mathematics and Spanish language Olympiads and in 2005, achieved a significant milestone: ISO 9001:2000 certification. This certification process encompassed all levels, from kindergarten to primary and secondary school, in both Spanish and English languages, covering both curricular and extracurricular subjects. It was an immense effort and a great accomplishment!
Our beloved Miss Cecilia Diana, who poured immeasurable love for her students and had a passion for education, sadly passed away on April 14th, 2009, due to illness. It was a devastating blow to the school and the family. Those who had the fortune to have known her are aware that she radiated joy and love wherever she went and her imprint is deeply engraved in the heart of the school and in all of us who were part of her life.
In the face of adversity, people come together. And so did we when we suffered the pain of losing one of the founders. The school carried on with the idea that institutions should outlast the individuals who comprise them.
In 2010, the school participated in the founding of the ‘CENTRE FOR RESOURCES AND ASSESSMENT FOR EDUCATIONAL CHANGE (CRECE)’, for its acronym in Spanish, which aims to bring about changes through assessment as an external auditing method to improve classroom practices.
In October 2013, we traveled to Florida to investigate and train in the emerging field of Cultures of Thinking (COT). It was a change that was not initially part of society’s plans, but it aligned perfectly with the original educational project: to cultivate a culture of thinking among our students.
Today, we are deepening the path to educate individuals who can think, adapt to a rapidly changing world and succeed in their endeavors.
Many people have passed through our school, leaving their mark. Particularly noteworthy are those individuals who contributed from leadership positions and remained unwavering in their support of our educational project: Miss María Elena Franco, a pillar; Miss Susana Velásquez, a great friend and companion; Miss Débora Scott, a friend and our first English language coordinator; and many teachers who, in the course of life, chose different paths or had to take different directions. To all of them, our deepest gratitude.
The school was conceived with love for teaching and we continue to work with enthusiasm and passion, always with love and trust, as education is not possible without the trust that stems from love.
And here I am today, contemplating with great satisfaction the journey we have traveled over these 30 years of the school and I can proudly say how much we have achieved and how many lives we have touched, how many impressions we have made on our students, regardless of the time they spent at our Bilingual school. I am truly grateful to life for allowing me to witness how the fruits of education, when cultivated with love, yield far beyond one’s expectations. This is evident in the accomplishments of our former students when their achievements surpass those of their teachers.