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EHS ALUMNI RELIVE HISTORY

Philippe Jose S. Hernandez

 

            Despite the incessant downpour that encompassed most of Metro Manila, the alumni of the UST-Education High School were able to successfully celebrate their institution’s 59TH Foundation Anniversary with the “UST-EHS Walk w/ History: Retracing Our Steps for the Past 59 Years,” last August 1, 2009 (Saturday), inside the UST Campus.

            The event commenced with a very solemn prayer led by Class 1967 Female Valedictorian Mrs. Flora Sta. Cruz-Gisbert. Vice-Chairman John M. Simon, who was serving as Master of Ceremonies for the short program held at the first-floor lobby of the Education Building, greeted everyone who braved the bad weather just to reunite with their alma mater once more.

            Simon informed everyone of the projects that the EHSGAAI has in store for the alumni and the University, with the impending 60TH Anniversary of EHS in 2010 and the Quadricentennial of UST in 2011 as inspirations. The Walk w/ History, he explained, is conceived to be a stage for the alumni to share their stories, which will be immortalized in the EHS Diamond Jubilee Coffeetable Book, a chronicle of the 60 years of the UST-EHS. A MOA has been inked already between the University and the EHSGAAI, and the project is already in full swing. The output is intended to be released next year.

            As a springboard for the storytelling, Simon called on President Emmanuel German V. Plan II to the front for his opening remarks and sharing. Plan thanked everyone for coming over to the University to ensure the success of the Foundation Day celebration. He enumerated all the decades, all of which represented, and hailed them for their undying love for the EHS. He said, however, that the GAAI now is counting on the support of the 1970s-1980s decades to accept the challenge of receiving the torch of leadership from the 1950s-1960s decades. “You can count on us, your predecessors, to have the flame and passion for the EHS kept alive, but it’s your turn now to do the work. We hope you will step up to this challenge,” Plan said.

            Recounting some very fond memories of his high-school years, Plan said that it was his batch that last used the khaki pants for the boys, since they were the ones who proposed for the changing of the khaki to the black pants. He also recounted the days when the longtime School Secretary, Mr. Francisco Bonifacio, would stand beside a long table to provide the students in line w/ sugar sprinkled donuts for their merienda. Plan served as EHS Alumni President from 1984-1988, and was brought back to the helm last September 2008.

            When the rain finally began to cease, the 85 or so alumni went out of the Albertus Magnus Building and began the campus tour to revisit sites very important to the EHS. The Multi-Deck Carpark, for example, is the site of the second EHS building, which was used from 1966-1969. The old Escudero Garden found adjacent to the Benavides Building & the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex (TARC) is the original site of the very first EHS Building, where the school stayed from its inception in 1950-1966. A visit to the Botanical Garden brought the alumni to the Fatima Grotto erected in the University in 1950, on the very year of EHS’ foundation. The Chapel was next on the itinerary, where the alumni prayed the Hail Mary and the Glory Be.

            The story of Scouting was told by Mr. Manuel Salumbides, EHS Class 1953, at the Grandstand. Salumbides recounted the early days of Scouting, when UST served as the main training site of the Manila Council due to the sheer size of its fields.

            Telling the story of the faculty and administrators was longtime P.E. Supervising Teacher Mrs. Felicitas Ramos-Francisco, who began in the EHS in the late 1950s. Francisco expressed her joy at seeing the alumni come back home to the University. She also gave the EHSians some trivia regarding University-wide activities that have now become part of the Thomasian tradition, like the Paskuhan, Thomasian Welcome Walk, and the University-wide Baccalaureate Mass—all of which weren’t observed yet back then. Photo-ops took place at the Grandstand with Francisco, having the Main Building and the replica Main Building at the Grandstand as backdrops. A final picture-taking session at the Plaza Mayor ended the walk tour.

            Once back at the Albertus Magnus Building, the alumni went up to the fourth floor to view the exhibition on the UST-EHS history prepared by the EHSGAAI Organizing Committee and the EHS Student Council. Also, Simon gave tokens from Europe to Batches 1978, 1988 and 1977, the classes with the first, second and third largest delegation, respectively. A mini-quiz bee was also facilitated by Simon regarding the history of the EHS.

            A team of historians formed by OAR Director Evelyn A. Songco, Ph. D., was on-hand to document all the stories said during the event.


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