by Vincent R. Pozon
WHEN WE SPEAK OF PROGRESSIVE SCHOOLS, the University of the Philippines is the top-of-mind brand. And then there's the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. But it can be argued that St. Scholastica's College is the most progressive learning institution for women in the country. (I know whereof I speak: I studied in UP; I was graduated by PUP; and I taught in St. Scholastica's).
By design and breeding, they are a feisty lot. They are vocal and participative in people’s actions and social advocacies. They've been progressive since I can remember.
Why is the Scholastican so different from the rest?
The school has progressiveness and concern for the country actually written in its vision:
... to mold our students into critically aware and socially responsible agents of change towards the transformation to a just and equitable society.
I have seen the spirit up-close -- I married a Scholastican, I taught in St. Scholastica's, I hired St. Scholastica graduates.
Parents are naturally more protective of daughters, worrying not only for their future, but also for their present safety, especially when they do not live in the same household. When I was teaching in St. Scholastica's, I noticed that half my classes consisted of children of OFWs, or of parents in the provinces, or of parents who do not live together.
It could be said that the school provides another way of addressing the worry of parents. St. Scholastica's College equips the child, turns her into someone who can fend for herself, someone whose concern for others outweighs concern for self. The empowering culture of the school teaches the girls to stand for what is right.
A school must teach heart, engender concern for others. "The college is committed to proactively help the poor and the marginalized of society... the empowerment of women as advocates of societal change is a mark of a Scholastican Education," said Sr. M. Christine Pinto, OSB, the present president in her speech at the Hildegarde Awards.
When the miracle of the Maginhawa Community Pantry happened, the school mobilized and participated in a major way.
15 years ago, the Communications Department of St. Scholastica's launched The Hildegarde Awards.
It has recognized achievements and advocacies of women in communication.
This year, the department honors two 'Trailblazers of Change.' "Our awardees are women who have opened the Red Sea to new perspectives, broke stereotypes, went beyond conformity, introduced innovation, worked tirelessly to better lives and bring issues that need attention, stood their ground, fought for what is right, just and responded to the call of the times", wrote Prof. Rebecca Juliana P. Marquez, Communication Department Coordinator.
"We may be outstanding, but to be a trailblazer of change is another story. To create change takes courage. These are what our honourees have in common. They are nonconformists, they practice courageous leadership, and certainly they have that love in their hearts to effect change in our society." - Dr. Virginia R. Fornias, Dean of College and Dean of Arts and Sciences
Ms Marianne 'Maan' Hontiveros. Strong-willed, even as a student. In the 1980s, During the EDSA People Power revolution, she played a crucial role in mobilizing and catalyzing the dissent and protest of the Filipinos, which led to the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship. Her advocacy for the arts and the environment remain as strong.
Click for more on the Hildegarde Awards and Maan Hontiveros.
Concern for a Country
Therese “Gang” Badoy-Capati. Best known for founding RockEd Philippines, an advocacy and alternative education group that showcased social issues through music events. She is noted for her work in providing assistance to prisoners, raising funds for calamity and disasters victims. Today she is concerned with mental health, specifically how people are handling the pressure of the times.
Click for more on the Hildegarde Awards and Gang Badoy-Capati.
St. Scholastica's College isn't about books and walls. To be of value to a child in her later years, it must teach heart, be mother, be a source of encouragement and not just expertise.
To quote Gang Badoy-Capati, one of this year's Hildegarde awardees,
"How wonderful that the latin phrase Alma Mater means 'mother of one's soul' -- this is really what St Scholastica's has been for me".
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