The present administration building of JPNHS. - All MWBuzzpics by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
By SONIA B BANARES
EDUCATION is vital in poverty reduction.
With this maxim, the Philippine government in the 1940s established the secondary education system to lessen illiteracy among the Filipinos.
Educated Filipinos have, therefore, a better chance to rise above poverty.
With the required education, they can find jobs from which they can earn a living, not only for themselves but also for their family. It is an economic chain reaction and this is not a myth.
Mambulao was among the eager and enthusiastic communities that valued education as precious life time inheritance to very Filipino child; it is considered a golden gift.
It was in 1947 that a makeshift school gradually emerged in an abandoned compound then owned by the defunct Mambulao Lumber Company next to the banks of the so-called Parang mangrove river.
This would be known later as the Jose Panganiban Jr High School, named after the local hero Jose Maria Panganiban y Enverga.
Born in the mining town of Mambulao on February 1, 1863, Panganiban was recognized as "Avenger of Filipino honor", a Legislator during the pre-Commonwealth period and a "Champion of Liberty, and Patriotism".
For a start, the makeshift high school was just a two-curriculum affair, with 200 students and seven teachers under a principal named Mrs Romero (full name unavailable), who was in charge from 1947-1948.
In 1947, coconut haciendero Ramon A Adea Sr was the town mayor and from 1949 to 1954, Agripino Floresca was the school principal.
The school was fully supported by parents until it was nationalized in 1977 - an upgrade from being a mere community high school.
It was in 1950 when the school was officially known as Jose Panganiban High School; it offered a complete secondary curriculum.
A mini park on the campus honoring the National Hero Dr Jose P Rizal.
In 1951, the school site was transferred to Parang upon the request of the municipal board, then headed by town mayor Jose Y Arriola.
By virtue of Resolution No 156 dated June 18, 1949, the Provincial Board of Camarines Norte granted the school a property the size of two hectares, acquired from the Defeo family of Mambulao for K5,000 -- a big sum those days.
Incidentally, coconut haciendero Ramon Adea Sr offered for only P4,000 a 1.5ha lot, alongside a donation of half-hectare to come from an adjacent property he owned.
In effect, the school now had a total area of four hectares for school campus, which were later covered by a Transfer Certificate of Title No T-42 from the original Certificate No 581 under the Tax Declaration No 00978.
The Registry of Deeds in Daet released the Title No 2325 and 2261 last September 30, 1986 and the Transfer Certificate Title No T 25903, October 23, 1989.
Hopefully, the process of transferring the title in the name of JPNHS would begin this year under the current school principal -- Dr Severo Salgado, Jr.
In 1954, Vicente dela Cruz was the high school principal, who was succeeded by Beatriz B Villaluz two years late. Villaluz, who was lovingly referred to as Miss Villalluz by everybody – from vendors to students, from fishermen to laborers -- stayed on as the principal till September 1984.
As a provincial high school, JPHS catered to the students from the 26 barrios of Mambulao and enthusiastically welcomed students from the islands of Polilio and Jomalig in the neighboring province of Quezon who sailed to Mambulao in “bankang de sagwan” and those from Batobalani and Capacuan, two barrios of the neighboring town of gold-mining Paracale.
As the school population grew, the number of teachers also increased.
A giant wall showing the name of the school.
In 1972, Jose Panganiban was classified as Class A municipality under Mayor Roy Padilla, Sr, who adopted JPHS as a municipal high school.
But with the closure of the Philippine Iron Mines (PIM) in 1975 after becoming unprofitable to operate, JPHS suffered a lot.
The municipal government could no longer shoulder the salary of the teachers. During those days, students paid tuition fees of at least P20 every grading period to the municipal treasurer. Those who failed to pay were denied taking the period examinations.
So in 1975, the Provincial Board of CamNorte adopted JPHS as provincial high school following the complete closure of the iron mines that year. Until its shutdown, PIM was the biggest employer in Mambulao.
It was at this time that one of the faculty members -- Felix de Vera -- initiated the move to ask the Philippine government to nationalize the school.
Through the combined efforts of Miss Villaluz, De Vera, and Pedrito Dacanay of the Budget Commission in January 1977, and by virtue of Presidential Decree No 1250, the school became "Jose Panganiban National High School".
Operating under the national government, JPNHS received substantial funding that enabled it to build new classrooms.
However, the benefits of better-built classrooms were short-lived as the building housing them was destroyed by Typhoon Whelming three years later.
On September 5, 1984, Miss Villaluz retired after serving the Alma Mater for 28 fruitful years. To these days, she has been very well-remembered by every student who passed under her archway.
Through her stewardship, Ms Villaluz honed great men and women who are now well in place not just in the Philippines but overseas -- as economic heroes.
From 1984 to 1997, Lilia O Ella, a former member of the high school faculty, was the principal.
With her at the helm, the school enjoyed substantial improvements in facilities and in academic performance, thus producing many students with top scholastic records.
Then in 1991, the school saw the opening of classes for Science-Math Oriented (SMO) and the New Secondary Education Curriculum (NSEC).
A science and technology classroom donated by DOST
These two schemes - SMO and NSEC - did wonder to the school's math-and-science instructions that in 1993, JPNHS was named the "Division Leader School in Science and Social Studies".
Following this, the teachers in Science and Social Studies were given scholarships by DOST-SEP and granted the Science Building with equipment and materials alongside computer sets.
In 1997, Edith G Chavez succeeded as principal and governed the school till 2008.
By now, the school had more than a hundred personnel and the teachers continued to attend seminars, trainings, conventions and post studies to upgrade their skills.
During the years 2000-2001, JPNHS was chosen as the "Most Effective Secondary School" in the Division of Camarines Norte, and "First Runner-Up in Bicol Region (Region 5).
In 2002, it was declared the Regional Winner and the following year, Chavez was named the Regional Awardee for the "Gintong Ilawan" sponsored by Department of Education and Avon, the cosmetic company.
But of course, even before being nationalized, JPNHS was already a top high school to deal with by other schools in terms of scholastic and academic achievements, both in regional and national levels.
We could claim that from 1984 to the present, school graduates have dominant levels of performances.
Under the governance of Mario Garino as principal from 2008-2011, the students continued to win titles in every competitions they joined while the graduates went on to collect honors and positive reputations in their careers.
The 65th foundation day was celebrated on April 27-28 April, this year.
Indeed, it was a great day for the alumni of 65 batches to reminisce vigorously their youthful days.
Alumni who are based across the globe came to attend the homecoming -- all grateful of their achievements and successes won from hard work as professionals and something else.
Many had attended for the first time.
One of the prominent buildings on campus.
Thanks to our local economic heroes for their laughter and cheers, for their hugs and kisses. Indeed, everyone felt just sweet sixteen.
What a joyful day it was - this homecoming.
The days was made more significant by the assistance and donations from different batches towards the school and community --- like books, school supplies and bags of cement, just to name a few.
The current principal, Dr Salgado Jr, thanked everyone for their presence and for the donations from alumni towards the improvement of the school facilities.
Indeed, he has many great things to work on. And he needs a lot of little help from a lot of people - starting with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters from different alumni batches.
Many years from now, we would see the alumni of JPNHS making history, just as they did in the past and just like what they are doing these days --- they could be sitting as one of the justices of the Supreme Court, as members of the Senate or, someone wielding power from the Executive Office.
A road leading to more classroom clusters on campus.
Just always remember that over the past 65 years, our Alma Mater has instilled in us a simple maxim: "Honesty is the best policy".
Let's keep it that way - though it may prove to be the hardest to deal with, especially nowadays when the living gets tough for the many among us.
Blame it on "economic malfunction".
But one thing is certain: The golden education that we received from JPNHS will keep us upright - and proud, as always.
(Matt Ella Espana, former president of JPNHS Alumni Association, said there are more than 14,000 members of the association so far. – Editor)