Circa 1946 many American based companies established themselves in Honduras. The American Embassy saw the need for a bilingual school for the children of the families moving to this country to work in said companies. Mr. James Webb, the American Embassy Cultural Attaché, served as a liaison between the American families and a group of Honduran visionaries who were willing to invest in this project. This is how the first bilingual school, The American School of Tegucigalpa, came to be, located in Barrio La Ronda in downtown Tegucigalpa. The initial school had 42 students and three classrooms.
The American School of Tegucigalpa, since its inception, followed both the American and Honduran educational systems. Mrs. Mary Sager (top row, left corner) was the first school director and administrator. She was in charge of third through sixth grades. Her personality, professionalism and love for the school set the tone for future staff of this great institution. Later on, Mrs.Sager was joined by Mrs. María Teresa Castro de Ellison (Sub-director) and Mrs. Matilde de Izaquirre. High School classes started by correspondence with The University of Nebraska and the University of Galvet. These courses were supervised by an American professor. In the 1950s The American School of Tegucigalpa was the first school to offer a degree as a bilingual commercial secretary. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s the graduation classes ranged anywhere from three to twenty students.The first graduates of the 1950s phase of the American School who graduated with a diploma officially recognized by the Honduran government were: Lottie Izaguirre, Margarita Elvir, Eca Zepeda and Federico Brevé. This is the first graduation class, whose members could continue their studies in Honduran Institutions of higher education! Prior to this group, all those who graduated from the American School only graduated with a High School diploma.
Mrs. Izaguirre assumeed a more administrative roll by integrating the American and Honduran education systems. In 1954 the “Sociedad Educacional Interamericana de Tegucigalpa” (S.E.I.T) was formed. This organization was and is to this day, formed by parents of students attending the American School of Tegucigalpa. Their function was to make sure that the American School’s educational services were both bilingual as well as bicultural and of a higher quality. Soon the student population grew to such extent that satellite classrooms were established in front of Parque Finlay and another one on Calle Las Damas. “La Americana” opened a section for Bilingual Commercial Secretary that lasted three years. But this course was short lived due to logistic reasons.
In the 1950s negotiations started between the US Embassy, the American School and the Honduran government to see if land could be donated for the construction of our school. A collaborative effort between our SEIT Board president of the time, Mr. Augusto Rodriguez Ulloa and Mr. James Web is what brought about the donation of the land where the American School of Tegucigalpa is built upon today. Honduran Ex–President, Dr. Juan Manuel Galvez, donated the land (originally owned by Don J. Alfonso Mejía). The government originally proposed one of two locations: a lot in El Pedregal, near the airport, or a lot in a section of the outskirts of town later known as “Las Lomas”. The U.S. Embassy donated $100,000 for the initial construction of the new school. With this money, the school started construction, dug a water well, bought buses, and a purification system for the water. The school was initially equipped to accept 500 students.
In 1962 the new school building was inaugurated in the extreme southeast portion of Tegucigalpa. Once established in the new building, organized sports and activity clubs were developed. Initially the school had science, drama, journalism and photography clubs. Mr.Guillermo Inestroza, in conjunction with Michigan University consolidated the science program for the tenth and eleventh grades. Nury Reyna ( Toffe) arrived to the school in the late 60s and helped with the further development of the art department.
Mr. David Losk arrived to the school and assumed the positions of teacher, principal and rector. By this time, the American School’s educational level was such that it allowed Seniors access to Universities such as Georgetown, Yale, Stanford, etc. Basketball courts were constructed. A cafeteria building was built. The gymnasium was converted to include a stage. The school initiated a band and a drama dept and the library was constructed.
“Dr. James Shepherd (1988-1995) came to this school at a point in time in which if no changes were made to the existing structures of the school, we would have fallen to be just another bilingual school. Dr. Shepherd worked hard for us, helping us not only meet the requirements needed to be an accredited school, but also establish the foundation for what has turned out to be the best school in Central America” “Each day presents unique opportunities to achieve or to fail. Each day’s decisions affect tomorrow’s results. The choices one makes affect us all, as time waits for no one. “ ~Dr. Shepherd “To be a maker of history and not a mere observer “ is the challenge Dr. Shepherd offered the Graduating Class of 1989. It seems like he accepted his own challenge. During his administration the following structural changes took place at AST: New gymnasium/ Auditorium Covered Courts New High School Building New Pre School Building.
In 1990 Mrs. Matilde Izaguirre, who was the first Honduran Director at AST, retires after 40 years and Mrs. Linda Matamoros de Durón becomes her successor. The big auditorium/gymnasium was built at the back of the school grounds.Class of 1990 was the first graduation class to have their graduation ceremony in the school gym and not at the Teatro Manuel Bonilla. The High School building was built and dedicated to Mrs. Matilde Izaguirre in honor of all her years of dedication to our school. Class of 1991 was the first group of Eagles to spend their senior year in this building. During 1995-1996 the Pre–School was moved from the elementary school building to it’s brand new home at the entrance of the campus. In the late 1990s (circa 1998) there was a short circuit that sparked a fire on the roof of the middle school building. By 2000, we had a new middle school and our very first middle school principal.
Through the 70s to when the Eagles’ Cafeteria was demolished in 2012, the place where the students and staff gathered to have lunch was called the Eagles’ Cafeteria. It was a one room structure with one counter and a bunch of lunch tables. It was sub-contracted to the PTO for them to manage and collect the funds. There were many PTO representatives throughout the years, but during the last 12 years, Mr. Franklin Hasbun ( RIP) and his wife, Mrs. Betty were the ones to manage the cafeteria. They dedicated many years to the school and provided many fond memories for our Eagles. In 2008 our former Eagles’ Cafeteria had a big fire and part of the structure had to be closed off. The firemen who came to the rescue were presented with a plaque of appreciation at a general assembly in their honor. With the construction of the new two story building in 2012, AST decided not to sub-contract anymore and hired ex alumna, Angélica Diaz del Valle ( Class of 1997) to manage the Dining Hall. Since then, Angélica and her staff have catered countless events at the school and offer a variety of delicious menus for our Eagles. The Dining Hall was dedicated to all the past, present and future teachers at AST. The soccer field was refurbished with artificial turf thanks to a major fundraising campaign headed by the Development Office.
In 1998 Mrs. Liliana Flefil de Jenkins became Superintendent . She is the first appointment that came from within the country and school. Before this time, all Superintendents had to be North American. Mrs. Jenkins is the only Superintendent to be an alumna of the school. Many changes have happened during her term; classroom sizes were dropped to 20 students per class, online curriculum, first web page, student management system, interactive classroom design, expansions of infrastructure in the Pre–School, Fine Arts and Elementary buildings. She has supported the AST Athletic Department , by allowing programs which foster better athletes, and improvement of the athletic complex by installation of fixtures such as lights for the artificial soccer field, and special flooring for covered courts. The gymnasium had a new fitness center built on the first floor.