SORSOGON NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
Then and Now
“The true yardstick by which the goodness and efficiency of a government, or an institution are measured is its actual accomplishment in terms of the people’s livelihood, enjoyment of material and moral rewards for their efforts, development of their potentialities and realization of their aspirations to success and happiness under an atmosphere of order and security”—with these words from Jose P. Laurel in mind, the writer wishes to provide the readers an idea of the extent of expansion the SNHS has undergone, the current problem. It has met and solved and perhaps some insights for future trends.
The history of Sorsogon High School (now Sorsogon National High School) starts even before the official establishment in 1906 during the American Regime to provide instruction for “self-government.”It traces its process of growth from a fledging unit to its full status today. Since then the school has continued to discharge its duties.
The first teaching unit was an imposing and spacious two-storey building originally located at the present site of the SNHS main building. It was semi-concrete, lumber being a big part of the material used, gathered through voluntary contributions from civic-spirited people of the province. There was a grandstand in the athletic ground. The first teachers were mostly Americans and the medium of instruction was English. The first Filipino teachers trained by the Thomasites started teaching in 1908.
Finally the school bearing the name Sorsogon High School was opened for secondary education before the second decade of the American Regime ended. Most of the teachers were not properly trained for the teaching and textbooks were scanty, hence; instruction was poor. These experiences provided school authorities the insight to formulate educational policies for the establishment of a new school system. In its first academic year SHS had a faculty who were American and an enrolment of a handful of students. The students paid P18.00 annually for tuition fess payable in three installments. The boys wore white-long-sleeved shirts and khaki pants, while the girls wore white blouses and blue skirt. Prewar graduates recalled with nostalgia the strict observance of wearing coat and tie among its faculty members. In 1921, the school held its first graduation exercises. There were five graduates, two boys and three girls.
The years 1930 – 1940 witnessed the glorious achievements of the school. This was the SHS of prewar years which was truly the pride of the province. Beyond its physical grandeur, it excelled in academic, athletics and cultures.
The competent and dedicated faculty members were the fllowing:
- Mr. Maximo Berina – Physics
- Mr. Ricardo cruz – Gen. Science II & Algebra
- Mr. Celestino Labayen – English I & History
- Mr. Alfonso Lorenzo – Social Studies, Library Science
- Mr. Jose Medina – Geometry II, English & Character
- Mr. Julian Meliton( Acting Principal) – Spanish II, Advanced algebra III, Adv. Arithmetic
- Mr. Anselmo Parchaso – Character & Health
- Mr. Rizalino Racelis – English I
- Mr. Francisco Sabado – Economics II & Retail Merchandising II
- Mr. Jose Ventura – English and Character III & IV
- Mr. Emillano Vilda – History Ii & IV
- Mr. Ceriaco Duazo – History II & Charcter & Health I
- Ms. Lucita Sison – Geometry II, Algebra
- Ms. Margarita Sicam – Biology III
- Ms. Cecilia Clotario – Home Economics
- Mrs. Teodorica Villanueva – English I
About 1940 – 1941 the school introduced the so-called double session wherein a teacher has to handle one class in the morning and another in the afternoon. The war however brought the enforced educational block out from 1941 – 1944 and on November 15, 1941, a month before the outbreak of the Second World War the school building and the Saint Cecilia Dormitory for girls were burned. Immediately after the war when classes reopened, huts and shacks were used as temporary classrooms. Enrollment swelled as students throughout the province flocked enroll. Extension classes were restored to. Meanwhile the reconstruction of the building took some time.
The 50’s saw marked changes. Foremost was the completion of the reconstruction of the SHS through the joints of efforts of then Congressman Teodoro de Vera and the provincial board. The new two-storey building had 26 rooms in the first floor where the spacious library, biology, Physics rooms, armory, retail store, home economics canteen and the office of the principal and personnel were located. The reconstructed building was named Sorsogon Provincial High School.
Earlier, the Luzon Tip, the school’s publication was officially organized. Columbus Maquito was one of the pioneering editors and Miss Hortencia Benoza, the adviser. In 1956, the school principal, Mr. Emiliano Vida replaced Mr. Angel Instrella. During this time Congressman Vicente Peralta worked for the release of P10, 000.00 for the construction of the cemented fence. In 1959, the new curriculum, the 2-2 plan was implemented wherein the third year students were divided into two Electricity, Woodworking, Horticulture, Retail Merchandising, Advanced Foods and Advanced Dressmaking were courses offered for the latter.
Meanwhile Mr. Isalas Leocadlo assumed office as principal from 1962 – 1965. During his terms, the cemented base of the school’s flagpole was constructed. With the untimely death of Mr. Leocadle in 1965, Mrs. Priscilla Sabado took over as principal. Foremost among Mrs. Sabado’s outstanding achievements were the nationalization of the school, the construction of a pilot bakery, the multi- purpose green house, and the acquisition of the athletic grounds. About this time the revised secondary school curriculum the 2- 2 plan.
Sometime in 1969, Mrs. Sabado pioneered the opening of the evening class secondary education. It took a regular evening class student five years to graduate. In 1973, the high school evening class had its first graduation. In 1970, the Community College for Midwifery was established. Between 1972-1973, Mrs. Sabado with Mr. Pedro Sta. Ana, PTA President joined hands to present a resolution to nationalize the school. Congressman Rafael Aquino proposed the resolution to the house of Congress (House Bill No. 4712) on September 1972. The budget for the tuition fees were standardized at P92.00 annually for all year levels. Henceforth, the SNHS was born. During this time, three American Peace Corps volunteers joined the faculty. Brian Furby taught Science, Tom Mathis, Mathematics and Frank Kallsiak, Creative Writing.
After almost ten years as a successful school administrator, Mrs. Sabado retired from service in 1976. Mrs. Nonita D. Julian succeeded her as principal, by which time the school had grown tremendously. Increased enrolment had outgrown the capacity of the two-storey building. The momentum increase was due to the implementation of the free secondary education. Mrs. Julian administration, SNHS was chosen the Regional Leader School for Science and Mathematics.
The 80’s brought in outstanding students’ accomplishments that seemingly repaired the sagging spirit of the school. In 1981, Cesar Balmaceda went to Canada for Leadership Training as an exchange scholar. Meanwhile, Cherie Colon won first place in the internationally- sponsored ASEAN essay writing contest. And in 1987, Eduardo N. Sipoy competed with foreign students in Puerto Rico during the international science fair. His Low Cost projector won third place.
In 1987-1988, Mrs. Luz G. Angeles, was appointed OIC of the school after the retirement of Mrs. Nonita D. Julian. The brief tenure of Mrs. Angeles was marred by typhoon Sisang, which took a heavy toll in the entire school buildings. The main building was among those almost completely damaged. Amidst theses ruins, classes resumed three weeks after the typhoon. To the credit of Mrs. Angeles, graduation exercises for batch ’88 was held as scheduled.
In April 1988 Mrs. Rebecca B. Alarcon was appointed principal III of the SNHS. Perceived to be quiet but generous and hardworking, her word speaks action. Upon assuming office she moved swiftly for the repair of destroyed structures as well as the construction of new classrooms. All these projects were designed to accommodate increase in enrollment and to promote greater educational opportunities. To date Mrs. Alarcon has hosted three successful summer SEDP Trainings for Science and Mathematics. Ken Mcbride, an American Peace Corps was a visiting instructor in Science. A year later upon assumption of office, Mrs. Alarcon was chosen “Most Outstanding Principal of the Division of Sorsogon”. Again, the school’s curriculum had undergone another innovation. From the plan 2 – 2 plan to the revised secondary curriculum to the present NSEC. The school had received seven million pesos aid from the Asian Development Bank that financed the general renovation of the second floor of the Main Building.
Today there are 2 school campuses with at least 13 buildings in the school’s site of 98, 884 square meters. The original campus with the main building and several prefabricated latter is composed of the Academic Bldg, 1 and 2, JICA, DOST, Lab., ESF, school cooperative store, the school canteen, department heads office, three – room academic and expansion buildings. It has a faculty of over 165 teachers mostly with masteral degrees. There are twenty eight permanent and five casual personnel. For the current enrolment, the school has 6,170 students. The school is now departmentalized. There are 8 departments: Values Education, English, Filipino, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics, THE, and PEHM. Each department is under a secondary head teacher. The entire school is administered by the DECS through a regional director and the division superintendent of schools, then the principal and an assistant principal. The security of the school is maintained by a security agency. There are two levels of instruction – the high school first and second shifts and the school of midwifery, Sorsogon Community College.
The principal of the Sorsogon National High School whose leadership helped in the development of the school:
- Mr. Sixto Falaypay 1935
- Mr. San Andres 1938
- Mr. Rodolfo Cascolan 1939
- Mr. Julian Meliton 1940
- Mr. Jose Medina 1945
- Mr. Jesus Moya 1946
- Mr. Angel Instrella 1949
- Mr. Emiliano Vida 1956
- Mr. Isalas Leocadio 1960
- Mr. Jesus Espedido 1965 – OIC
- Mrs. Priscilla D. Sabado 1965 – 1967
- Mrs. Nonita D. Julian 1967 – 1987
- Mrs. Luz G. Angeles 1987, June 1, to April 10, 1988
- Mrs. Rebecca B. Alarcon April 11, 1988 to present
Looking back, SNHS has its own share of crises. It has survived the Second World War, two super typhoons and an earthquake of such intensity that rocked its very foundation. Given all supportive measures it needs and with the full cooperation of a strong faculty and personnel, there is no reason not to survive and even surmount present conditions. It will sustain its commitment to the youth for the search of truth.
The SNHS has produced graduates who have pursued higher education and distinguished themselves In the field of education, laws, medicine, agriculture, social, civic, and religious services, fine arts and business. Partial list of successful alumni who made it to the national scene include the following: Bishop Jesus Y. Varela, RTC Judge Fernando Gerona, Late Congressman Vicente Peralta, Congressman Bonifacio Gillego of the 2nd district, Congressman Salvador H. Escudero III of the 1st distict, Former Assemblyman Augusto Ortiz, Former Governor Juan Frivaldo, Retired Director of BSE Hortencia Benoza, Retired Director of the Bureau of Elementary Education Edith Carpio, Dr. Clodualdo Leocadlo Sr., Writer Azucena Grajo Uranza, Retired Most outstanding Division Superintendent of Schools Amado Detera, PMAer Noli Lasala and Retired Col. Santiago Dino, Westpointers (USA) Fernando del Rosario, Retired Col. Augusto Derpo, Olympic Winner Arsenio Jasmin, Doctor Francisco Sabado and Ernesto Chua, Businessman Elizalde Diaz, Board Topnotchers Architect Rey Gabitan, Civil Engineer Renne Melitante, Most Outstanding Boy Scout of the Philippines Paulo Noel Paje. All told, the list will be endless.
Definitely, those who remained in the home front keeping the earth warm and the soil rich have contributed much to the greatness of this school. For without any doubt SNHS has indeed played a major role in shaping the lives of the Sorsoguenos.
SOURCE: Letocia M. Jestre, “SNHS at ’86, Still Marches On, “, THE LUZON TIP, 1992.