This article was originally published in the Philippine Lasallian FaMiLi Magazine (Volume 13, Issue 2) dated February 2012.
In the beginning
Jaime Hilario Integrated School-La Salle (JHIS-LS) started operations in SY 2006-2007 with 40 grade 1 students from the Municipality of Bagac in Bataan. The school was the result of collaboration among many stakeholders who were desirous of bringing the fruits of good, Catholic and Lasallian education to Bataan. The late Ambassador Carlos Valdes AFSC and then Balanga Archbishop Socrates Villegas invited and collaborated with the Lasallian Family to establish the school.
After five years in operation, the school now serves a total of 166 students from the surrounding sitios and barangays of Bagac. The school is currently staffed by 11 teachers, three of whom are De La Salle Brothers residing within the school premises. JHIS-LS aims to provide good basic education geared towards the stewardship of the environment. The choice for this commitment is dictated by global movements calling for the protection and conservation of the earth’s resources. The school itself is surrounded by nature’s wonders– the Bay of Bagac lap the shoreline fronting the school while behind the property are an entire range of hills. There is also a small community of fishermen who live in the vicinity and share with the school the responsibility for the care of the immediate surroundings.
Growth And Development
Through the years, various members of the Lasallian Family and socio-civic organizations have contributed to the upgrade of the school through their donations for infrastructural and operational needs and through lending their expertise to give shape to the school’s curricular programs. The effort has helped to widen the scope of the school’s reach and services. Aside from the students whom the teachers continue to educate, JHIS-LS continues to reach out as well to the larger community. It provides a monthly program of formation for parents, dealing with such topics as parenting and life skills, income-generating projects and stewardship of the environment. The school, likewise, organizes a Medical-Dental mission to ensure the good health of the community. This effort counts at least 150 families among its beneficiaries. JHIS-LS also commits its resources to the empowerment of the local fishermen’s association – providing them with leadership skills training, housing and eventually, alternative livelihood – all to make the care of the environment a viable option for them. The school continues to be a preferred site for the exposure and formation activities of the other schools that are part of the Lasallian Network in the Philippines. Through JHIS-LS, students, alumni, teachers and staff of various Lasallian institutions in the country continue to re-discover the educational mission among the disadvantaged.
JHIS-LS looks to the future with the hope of continuing to serve the community of Bagac. By adding one grade level every year, we hope to eventually provide our current students with secondary level education that will render them employable and prepared for tertiary education. Our commitment to educate them in the ways of stewardship will hopefully be fulfilled by the implementation of student projects and activities that are barangay-based– practical activities that have their local communities as context and beneficiary. We are hoping that the unique educational program that we will be able to evolve, can also become a resource for the many other coastal towns and barangays in the country.