In the speech of the Solemn Session of 1977, which Ernesto Bein as Principal offered to the community, these words with which he defined the Discipline of Trust are highlighted:
“This is what is meant by the Discipline of Trust: I trust in the honesty of your intentions; you trust in the righteousness of my actions. We have been accused that this system is very vulnerable and leads to many setbacks, due to the inconsistency, whims and lack of decision of young people; it is true, sometimes they overreach with the professors; sometimes the claim they make lacks elegance; and sometimes they make serious mistakes. But this is the price we have to pay to see a happy and confident student body, thus acquiring a personal sense of responsibility.”
School Magazine El Aguilucho (“The Eaglet”)
Since its creation in 1927, El Aguilucho has served to the School as a platform and cradle for writers and journalists. It is the oldest uninterrupted publication school magazine in the country. Eduardo Caballero Calderón himself, its founder, the brothers Daniel and Ernesto Samper Pizano, Guillermo Cano Isaza, Alfonso López Michelsen, Ricardo Silva Romero, Daniel Samper Ospina, just to name a few names, wrote the first reports, editorial articles and poems on its pages, edited every year by the eleventh grade students of the school. Currently, the editing of the magazine is marked by the dissemination of different opinions, interviews with famous personalities and informative texts related to the history and life of the school.
Magazines El Pichón (“The Pigeon”) & El Huevito (“The Little Egg”)
El Pichón and El Huevito are the publications edited by children of the fifth and fourth Decroly grades, respectively, through a joint work of all the subjects led by the Spanish and Literature Area. The educational purpose of these publications is for students to have the opportunity to take on different roles than those they carry out on a daily basis, increase their taste for reading and acquire greater ease of communication with people outside the school. For funding, events are organized that also teach young people other skills. All these is part of the Institutional Project of Reading, Writing and Orality, PILEO, of the Gimnasio Moderno, which has been awarded in previous years by the Ministry of Education of Bogotá.
In the book La Escuela Activa (“The active school”), a selection of Mister Agustín’s deepest writings, the validity of his thinking is confirmed, especially when he thinks on the meaning of human education:
“To educate oneself as a whole is to become a thinker, to discipline yourself. We are undisciplined by nature; disorder and caprice are announced in every uneducated being, and wherever we see that the individual with strong passions and weak reflection becomes a danger, because he has the characteristics of a primitive man”.
The Gimnasio Moderno Band, more than 60 years old, is the result of the work of a group of students who, year after year, in a free, playful, extracurricular way and with a lot of love, work, rehearse and prepare themselves with discipline to honor the national symbols every Monday during the flag-raising ceremony and to represent their school in all the places and events where they are invited. It is made up by and for students and it is one of the exercises that best defines the Discipline of Trust. It is an autonomous society in its management, directed by one of its members, elected every year by popular vote of the members. Band members should be an example of discipline, work, effort and love for the school.
This is what Mister Agustín wrote about what the concept of authority inside the school means:
“School authority,” -it has already been said-, has become spiritualized, has become a force of the soul that goes to other souls, and obedience has also been modified: now it is conscious, it is voluntary, and it is inspired by a feeling of confident security. It is no longer obeyed out of fear but out of agreement. School is no longer a prison, nor is the teacher a sheriff. Discipline does not mean, in the new concept, brutality. It does not imply immobility and silence, but disciplined behavior. Behind that word – school discipline – we will no longer see a battalion of prohibitive orders lining up, because that dreaded regulation will only be a harmonious set of inspiring principles.”
Sports and Cultural Committee
The Sports and Cultural Committee or as the students call it, “The Committee”, is an entity directed by the students in order to organize each year the different cultural and sports events that are traditionally held at the school, such as the Great School Festival, the Adelaide Tennis Cup, the Cultural Week and the Aguilucho Soccer Cup, among others. Its members are in the last years of middle school. Democratically chosen, they are in charge of obtaining the resources which are obtained through donations, sponsorships and events, funds that are administered by the students themselves, with the help of the employees of the School’s Secretariat and Accounting Office.
On the autonomy and training of students, Mister Agustín referred to the main objective of the School, in one of his most legendary speeches:
“Someone had the audacity to affirm that this was a school of aristocrats, but the occurrence could have been taken seriously, if it were understood that a new aristocracy arose here: that of rectitude, honesty, dignity, that of good manhood ”.
Historically, the Gimnasio Moderno has been linked to football soccer. It is part of the school memory, however, in the 40s, the creation of the Santa Fe Independent Club was conceived. The practice of this sport constitutes the best of the pretexts to promote, develop and encourage respect and team work. Soccer, in addition, is an extraordinary exercise to encourage the integral development of children and adolescents, and a never-ending source of learning of the playful nature that encourages much of human activity.
Debate and Ensemble Club
Since 2012 the school created the Debate Club: a space managed by the Social Sciences Area, but entirely designed to develop autonomy and critical thinking in students, and to give them the opportunity to build scenarios for discussion and learning with other schools in the country and the world. Additionally with the help of the Music Area, those students that are excellent in music, work on their Ensemble projects. This activity has allowed the school to train several generations of the best musicians in the country.
Mister Agustín explained, in an audio rescued from the sound file of the HJCK radio station, what is the north of the school with respect to autonomy as an instrument of training of the students:
“We all know that one goes to school to study, to acquire knowledge, to lay the foundations that must lead to higher studies; yes, that is true, but it is not everything, we were aware that in our school we were going to occupy ourselves with something more than teaching how to handle school texts, we think that this institute would be, above all, a refuge of spiritual principles and morals. We wanted then and we want today to form citizens with values, men of good, with a clear sense of their responsibilities, clean bodies and spirit, polite people in all their actions, companions instead of accomplices, gentlemen in their behavior, language and manners, covering all these virtues with the warm mantle of love for Colombia”.
This post is also available in: Spanish