This year St. Theresita’s Academy has turned 90 years of existence. It was founded a year after the arrival of the Siervas de San Jose in the Philippines in 1932. The school perdured all through these years in giving quality education steeped in gospel values, concretely, Nazareth values, thanks to the untiring support of the Silaynons and the people of the neighboring towns and cities, the parish community, the local government, the alumni and alumnae but, above all, because of the selfless efforts and loyalty of the teaching and non-teaching staff.
The celebration officially started last September 28 with a parade and basketball and volleyball games between the parents and the school employees. On the 29th, there were parlor games and invitational volleyball games with some other schools, as well as a showcase of talents of the students. The day ended with a grand alumni ball to which the Siervas de San Jose and retired teachers and employees were invited. Each batch presented itself and recalled their memories of being in STA and what they learned in school from the SSJ sisters and their teachers helping them become the persons that they are now. They relaunched the scholarship program of the alumni association and were able to gather a big amount and receive pledges to help sustain the program. One of the first graduates in 1948, Mrs. Esther Severino-Monfort, 94 years old, attended and gave her testimony. The alumni and STA employees who have died were also remembered and given tribute.
September 30 was organized by this year’s silver jubilarians, Class 1998. The day’s activities were exclusively for the former students. Alumni and alumnae of the different batches came to join in the motorcade and the thanksgiving mass with Fr. Hubert Javellana, an alumnus himself, as priest presider who brought with him a first-class relic of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. A solidarity lunch and food festival followed then a videoke contest. In the evening, the alumni/ae invited the students to a bonfire, fireworks display, dance party and turnover ceremony from Class 1998 to Class 1999, next year’s silver jubilarians who will take charge of next year’s alumni activities.
October 1st was the last day of the celebration. Each level, from kindergarten to senior high school, participated in the field demonstration with dances and calisthenics, proof that the Silaynons and those of the neighboring towns are multi-talented and that STA endeavors to cultivate their talents aside from preparing them for the future both academically and as responsible members of the society.
It was a joyful and memorable celebration which reinforced the family spirit and collaborative efforts of all the STA stakeholders. It was a great opportunity to thank God for these 90 years of service and contribution of St. Theresita’s Academy to Silay and to society in general.
We are happy not just to celebrate 90 years of presence in this city and in this school, but also to experience that the Josephine charism continues to be significant for the different generations of women and men of this place.
Thanks to all the people who have made this event possible, for the life-filled encounters and activities, for the efforts to change the world from the simple, everyday spaces of daily life that the entire educational community of the school is making. Thanks to all the alumni/ae for keeping Nazareth alive in their hearts and in their daily life.
Snippets of the party
Three Spanish Sisters and one Filipina of the SIERVAS DE SAN JOSE, Madres Anunciacion Marco, Amancia Bautista , Milagros Sarmiento and Olvido Moreno guided by their zeal and pioneering spirit ventured into the town of Silay, Negros Occidental.
The town of Silay was particularly sympathetic to the Sisters, even proposing to erect a school for them. The proposal was followed by the citizens’ financial contributions and arrangement of accommodations. Silay’s parish priest obtained the required Diocesan approval.
In due time, a committee headed by Don Jose (Pepe) Ledesma, Sr. was formed composed of the following landowners: Generoso Gamboa, Roque Hofileña, Juan Valencia, Jose Ledesma, Jr., Jose Gaston, Cesar Ledesma, Felipe Tionko, Emilio Ledesma, Turing Gaston and Joaquin Ledesma who successfully raised funds to help the SSJ with their mission that was to start a school for the young boys and girls of the community. Hence, the beginning and birth of a Catholic institution of learning in Silay on June 13, 1933 in a rented house – the COLEGIO DE STA. TERESITA which is now St. Theresita’s Academy.