A foundation’s façade
When it comes to admissions in the Monterrey high school system, ASFM pretty much takes the top place in selectivity. Most applicants come from many different schools, both local and international. A lot of us know these students as the Steve Fordham Award winners, the Harvard Book Prize recipients, the presidents and executives of many different student clubs, and for the countless Subject and Merit awards that they have righteously earned. Their intelligence, ambition, discipline, and friendliness shine through in everything they do.
So it makes sense right? ASFM is considered one of the best schools in Mexico, and it portrays the perfect high school community to the public eye, attracting a lot of interested students. Since the school only has few spots available per grade level for incoming students, they obviously won’t take the time accepting the less qualified applicants, and will prioritize in admitting the “créme de la créme” of the applicants.
However, things aren’t as simple as they seem. As I talked to over 20 past transferees, I began learning more and more about the application process. It’s a bit different for all students, whether international or local, but one factor does remain the same: during the one-on-one interview, a member of administration tells the applicants what they expect of them in the school. The same “Open Minds, Caring Hearts and Global Leaders” is obviously mentioned, as well as a couple of other standards to meet. The interviewer makes sure to state that “friendliness, inclusion, cooperation, respect, discipline, honesty, and hard work,” are all important values of the ASFM community.
But it’s in these very same standards where the hypocrisy lies. The ASFM administration is making a conscious effort in enforcing these ideals through things like Character Education classes, the Integrity Council and assemblies on intrapersonal growth. Regardless, these methods have yet to prove effective. The sad truth is that the ASFM “community” is still plagued by indirect bullying, exclusion, a lack of unity, cheating, and dishonesty. These new students –the club presidents, award recipients, and hard workers– live up to these standards because of the superficial image that ASFM gives off to the external community, without realizing the true nature of the school. Is it truly fair to uphold such high prestige as an institution, and demand so much of of the newly enrolled, without focusing on improving the discipline of the students already present? Is it morally correct to portray a fallacious image of a school, as a way to mask its true identity?
Every student here is capable of making up their own mind, and as sentient and conscious humans, it’s up to the student to make a decision, whether right or wrong. Nonetheless, the truth of the matter is that there has to be a better effort towards improving these same factors that the ASFM admission process so proudly upholds. The administration focuses on approaching a situation that stems from the students themselves, and has failed to attack a root that is so deeply ingrained into most of the schools youth from an early age. Clearly, placing “treat others how you want to be treated” signs, LGBT flags, and “be honest” posters around the school, won’t fix problems with bullying, exclusion, and cheating. Hearing about people paying others to complete their Mastering Chemistry, or seeing the countless assignments sent through WhatsApp groups, shows that a truly competent method is yet to be applied. The ASFM’s façade depicts an establishment proud of their students virtues, which effectively masks a darker reality of vices and iniquities. I have yet to study at an undergraduate level, but it doesn’t take a college degree to know that there are still many areas of opportunity to truly cement ourselves as the global leaders that the school administration so passionately wants us to be.