Thanksgiving, November 2018

 Like the students at the American School of Guatemala, many of us remember the story of the first Thanksgiving; a story about hardship, sacrifice, goodwill, an extended hand of generosity- an exchange of culture through a plentiful menu of corn, potato, pheasant and grains. A lesson of the rich indigenous culture opened to the European foreigners new and unfamiliar with the western hemisphere.

 As the story goes, there was an incredible feast received with gratitude that helped the pilgrims endure a long and tough winter. The generous feast was a lesson on the fruits of a successful harvest and showed the new comers the wealth of their new home---rich in food and kindness.

 Today, the story of the first thanksgiving lives in each new generation of American and the friends and family we open our hearts and homes to. But, there is so much more to Thanksgiving than an autumn harvest and delicious food.

 The values of the story transcend all nations and all religions. Thanksgiving is about the best of humanity sharing in their successes to help others. It´s about welcoming newcomers to your family, home and community. Thanksgiving is about teaching others the importance of resourcefulness, endurance, and optimism. And finally, the greatest lesson of Thanksgiving is instilling in children these values and the importance of passing them on from one generation to the next- exchanging values between families and sharing them with strangers without judgement, and always with kindness.

 Today, as I walk through the halls of CAG, I am reminded that Thanksgiving lives in us each and every day. We see Guatemalans and foreign teachers embrace each other´s cultures and share in each other´s traditions. We see our young students eagerly looking into the eyes of their parents, teachers and friends to celebrate moments of joy and find encouragement and courage to tackle the next big hurdle of growing up. We see big hands extend to little hands helping each other get up after a tumble or setback. We watch our faculty instill inspiration through subject. And always, we watch the CAG community rally to celebrate joys, and come together in hardship to get each and all through a dark and cold winter. We are a Living Thanksgiving.   

 At the American School, we are also benefactors of generosity from our founders, grandparents, parents and alumni who have selflessly given back to their school to ensure the tradition of CAG lives on in the hearts and minds of our students so that they learn to come back and do the same, . . . keeping the CAG tradition leading, alive, and strong.   We are a Living Thanksgiving.


And as a result of the work of those before us, The CAG harvest is seen in each young family´s desire to achieve the best education for their children in Guatemala. In the hopeful and aspiring young faces of over 1615 students. In the peeking roof tops of our iconic campus and throughout the green and blossoming acres of where our school is nestled. From the Founders Library, to the McVean Auditorium, to the Wilson Gymnasium, the scouts´ lounge, the Montanita, our telescope, and strong front face of the School at our front door.

We have received the shares of harvest and our future is bright.

 To our students, our faculty, their families and our extended CAG family, we thank you for your gifts and generosity. We find warmth in our CAG home and find strength in the CAG community. We enjoy the plenty from the CAG harvest and promise to pass it on.

 Happy Thanksgiving to each and all!


Dear CAG,   

Congratulations to you and our students for completing your first month of school! When I walk through the hallways, around the gardens and enjoy a few minutes in classrooms, I cherish the sounds  of  happy voices of children asking questions, laughing, and chatting. I have also enjoyed hearing the voices of teachers leading discussions and asking big questions-engaging in the young lives of our CAG students. Our school is filled with life once again after a long and quiet summer- and I am grateful! 

Throughout August, the life of CAG has drawn attention. We have been privileged to welcome grandparents, foundation members, alumni reunions (1997 and later this month class of 1968).  We hosted college visits, Richard Cullatta from ISTE and, Paul Andersen from NGSS, Former Board members and current, as well as longtime Head of School at CAG Barbara Barillas. We also had the great privilege to be invited to meet with the Minister of Education to share in CAG´s programmatic development and continued commitment to serve as leaders in Guatemala. CAG has also ventured outside of the Gates where teachers participated in volcano relief efforts in Escuintla, visits to UNIS, UVG and 11th graders participating in young business leaders programs at UFM. As always, we are proud to have our students and teachers out and about and to welcome curious community members back to campus to see the great work teachers and students are achieving together! These visits and  exchanges are the benefit and responsibility for our school---the benefit as host and the responsibility that we continue to nurture our growth and respect legacy and mission of the school so that we honor 73 years of excellence.  

September marks celebrations for  Guatemalan Independence. Our APM and parent volunteers will bring the colors and flavors of Guatemala to CAG classrooms and hallways to share in the pride and beauty of this country. The celebration is much about giving our students an experience of traditions that bring their school and their country together in happiness, but it also is a spectacular celebration for us new to this nation. Our employees, led by Middle School students will run through the front gates with a torch-we will be honored by our Marimba Orchestra and student speakers. Our grounds will be covered in the rainbow of intricate carpets of sand and sawdust and we be enjoying endless bowls of the best guacamole you have ever tasted!  It´s a treat to share in this celebration, and a reminder of the significant courage and values it takes to achieve, endure and nurture the ideals of independence and what it means for a country and its people. Using the lens of VIDAS and the threads of Character Counts can lead our students through robust conversations about the fundamental aspects of independence as an inalienable right and an inherent responsibility.  

What´s Exciting and New on Campus? CAG goes GREEN!

This month, we have been honored by student leadership and direct contribution back to making CAG a better place! 


  • Our Solar Panel Group on campus, (seniors, Estuardo P., Karina A. and Alexia  A.) have completed a year long business plan and fundraising effort the purchase of solar panels for CAG. Look up on top of the high school building and you will see 21 panels that are sourcing energy for the CAG Library!
  • With the support of their club advisor, Amaria Hernandez, our Green Team students,  Gabriel T., Juan Pablo C. and Marcos L. have furnished new recycling bins throughout the campus in ways that are suited better for younger students. THey also removed all other public containers to force awareness and discipline in recycling properly. 
  • The Garden Group is the Bees Knees! Faculty members, Beth Gourlis, Erin Hayes and Michael Lein are developing a school wide organic garden on campus. They need muscle and dedication. . . . if you are interested in joining them and their students, contact them via email. WE can´t wait for their yields!     
  • Francisco C., 11th grade, has organized self defense classes for his teachers. He started last year offering self-defense to female employees after a teacher of his was robbed.  He meets on Wednesdays and Fridays if you are interested in joining in.  
  • The votes are in! Last year´s sophomore math class pitched concepts for sculptures to be placed on our campus with their mathematical formulas and three dimensional designs. One was selected by student and teacher vote. The mock is in the General Direction office. We will working to make their pitch come true. Please stop by the office to see their rendition.    

Finally, if you have something to share or want to highlight your students, please pass along. CAG wants to  honor student leadership and voice and faculty contributions in the ongoing work to inspire our great community! 


A few Reminders for September

  • September 4th, 2:30pm in the Auditorium, Full Faculty Meeting to launch the 2018/2019 FAculty Reflection and  Growth.  
  • September 10, UVG will begin stage one of construction for their new Center of Innovation and Technology (CIT). We will be sending out reminders to our families and about the security protocols are walking through the UVG campus. We will hear construction noises in the vicinity. 
  • September 13th Independence Day Celebrations PreK-12th grade
  • September 14th SCHOOL CLOSED
  • September 25th School Wide Ribbon Cutting
  • September 28th Faculty Goals Due 


Happy September CAG!





"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
--Nelson Mandela


Dear CAG Community,

Join me in celebrating another great CAG school year!

For over 70 years, the American School of Guatemala has built a school on the pillars of excellence and compassion which has defined a CAG education as bilingual, rigorous and one that models excellence and contributes back to the community in which it was founded.

In fulfilling our mission, the annual tuition is carefully constructed in order to deliver an education that allows for a proven college prep course of study that is complemented with extracurricular offerings and a competitive athletic program. Part of the backbone of this experience is the quality of our international and local faculty who are experienced both in content and instruction.  A CAG education also promises a network of national and international memberships, associations, organizations and full international accreditation that benefits our students of all ages, offering them a chance to be competitive in the global community through the duration of their P-12 education as well as prepared for national and international collegiate aspirations.

Throughout the history of the school, founders and trustees have understood that keeping to CAG´s mission requires parent confidence, student performance, alumni pride, and teacher excellence. Providing the extra margin to achieve excellence however, calls for the generous support of donations. CAG has been fortunate to have had the commitment of many leading families and community members invest in the strategic direction and vision of the school since the school´s inception in 1945 through scholarship funds and as evident in the generous land grant where the current campus sits.  In fact, fundraising is essential to CAG´s history and to its continued success in reaching its vision to empower and inspire each new generation of student. These fundraising efforts serve as the foundation of our school´s Annual Fund.

Our Annual Fund revenues have the potential to provide the extra margin of excellence that goes beyond the promise of the mission provided by tuition. The Annual Fund is an ongoing fundraising activity critical to the School’s operating income, as such it provides the funds necessary for program enhancements and special projects. And finally, the Annual Fund helps to engage our community in the investment of the school´s future by supporting one of the five areas of excellence;


  • Program Excellence
  • Professional Excellence
  • Building Excellence
  • The Endowment Fund
  • Meaningful Lives Scholarship Fund


This year, there is no bottom line goal for CAG in the fundraising process. Instead, we are focused on building confidence among our stakeholders. In doing so, we are strengthening the trust in how the school finances its priorities. Our goal is to achieve the highest levels of participation from our stakeholders for the Annual Fund, and we need your support and leadership to achieve it.


We call upon our community to join me in giving back to the school and to model the importance of making an investment in CAG so its legacy stays strong and bright for your children and their children and so the CAG name continues to stay strong for thousands of alumni past and future.  

We encourage you to speak to your family and friends about your commitment. The Advancement Office and I will be happy to meet with you to answer any questions you may have about your gift, including how we will demonstrate use of your investment and how you will know your gift makes a difference. If you are ready to give now, the Advancement Office has created a simple process to pledge. Just click here for more information.

All donors will receive confirmation of their pledge to present to the Cashier’s Office and as recognition of your gift for their records. The Advancement Office will follow-up to confirm if you are interested in participating in the CAG Annual Report, to be published in September.

On behalf of the entire CAG community, I thank you for your support of the school. I also thank you in advance for your investment in CAG’s future by giving now.



Patricia Lee Marshall


Q and A to support your contribution to the Annual Fund

  • Is Annual Giving necessary?

We design our own learning program using a unique curriculum that operate without financial support from federal, state, or local government, and are self-governed.  Unlike public schools, which are funded by tax dollars, independent schools rely solely upon tuition and philanthropic gifts to meet operation and capital expenses.  Because we strive to manage tuition increases at reasonable levels for the quality of education CAG promises, giving is important to off-set expenses that help us achieve unique and special mission programs and to obtain state of the art resources to enhance teaching and learning.


  • Am I limited to donate to one of the five options? What if I have something else in mind?

CAG is appreciative of all donations. If there is something else that interests you and your family to support, please share your ideas with the General Director and the Advancement Office. The only criteria for giving is to ensure your desire to give supports the mission, vision and strategic direction of CAG.   


  • Can my company support the school?

Often, corporations contribute to independent schools by offering matching gifts to their employees' contributions. Families in our school may be able to double their personal contributions through their employer's matching gift program.  Please check with your employer to see if such a program is in effect where you work. 


  • Can I donate stock, make a bequest, or pledge monthly payments?

Yes!  This is a great way to make a gift to the school.  In the US, giving appreciated securities provides you with a tax deduction for the appreciated value of the stock without incurring capital gains tax.  Our office can provide you guidance with this information so you or your family can make stock gifts. Please let us know what your pledge is, the payment date, or what monthly installments you would like to make.


  • If I pledge today, when do I need to make sure all payments are complete?

If you make a pledge today, you have until the end of the calendar year (December 2018) to make your gift.


  • Documenting Gifts and Recognition in the Annual Report?

All gifts are properly recorded in the business office and donation receipts are provided to all donors. The advancement office will conform with you how you want your donations mentioned in the annual report. Family recognition, graduating class collections, memorial funds and anonymity are options.


This June, as we celebrate the class of 2018, join me in taking time to pause and reflect on the journey it takes to shape the body, mind and character of so many wonderful CAG graduates.

As these fine young men and women prepare to enter the world, I can´t help but think of how many people have played an important role in in preparing them to live up to CAG´s mission so they can positively contribute in meaningful ways to Guatemala and to the world.

The class of 2018 has been educated by some of the best Guatemalan and North American educators, have been mentored and coached by alumni and founders who have proceeded them and most importantly, loved and nurtured by their families and friends.

The class of 2018, collectively, was granted over 2million dollars in scholarships and grants to pursue their college education from national and international world class institutions in Guatemala, Korea, Spain, Mexico, England, the Netherlands and the United States.

And now, our graduates will join a distinguished group of over 6,000 alumni who span the globe and will soon join them in distinction for being leaders in finance, business, innovation, creativity, and service.

To prepare such a formidable student profile and instill the qualities of VIDAS (Values Oriented, Innovated, Dynamic, Actively-Engaged and Service-Driven) in the hearts and mind of our students, it takes a carefully crafted mission, a determined vision and years of teachable moments to prepare our students to be unique individuals who hold an emblazoned pride of the CAG signature noticeable in their work ethic and way of thinking. 

For almost 70 years, CAG has sustained its mission with the partnership of its stakeholders, working together to ensure the school has the leadership, faculty, resources and facilities to fulfil its purpose with unwavering pride and drive.     

As we honor our graduates, we thank each and everyone in the great CAG village who has contributed to the honorable work in shaping their lives. We thank our Faculty for their dedication to the work in which they have been entrusted, the Foundation for ensuring the school´s pillars have been strong since its inception and lasting for the next generation of CAG family and students. We thank the CAG alumni who carry the name of the school proudly in their hearts and make the school proud of their impact on our great world. And finally, we thank the parents of our grads who believed in CAG and chose our school to join them in the journey of raising their children.

Congratulations to the Class of 2018 and to the entire village who have rallied behind you!  Go out in the world and make us all proud. And remember, once a Hornet, always a Hornet!

In the tradition of maroon and gray,

Patricia Marshall   

Latest Videos