A new light shines in the South

iTEACH - Jose Claro (The Philippine Star) - July 10, 2012 - 12:00am

What do places like Katipunan, Greenhills, and Diliman have in common? People who were the first to reside in these areas would attest that these urban hubs were developed from former farmlands. One might ask what could have caused the rapid and progressive development that we see in these areas today. There are many factors, but a significant one would be the iconic schools established at the heart of these districts.

When we think about it, schools have replaced churches as the center of a community. Although attractive and appealing, the places mentioned above have now become too crowded and extremely costly for starting parents who are planning a future for their children. 

The good news, however, is that there are new lands targeted for development nowadays. Again, there is no better indicator of a promising property than the establishment of a new school. 

Xavier School Nuvali was inaugurated last June 22 in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Like its predecessor in San Juan 55 years ago, the modern structure as of the moment stands out in the middle of open fields and pristine grasslands with a concrete road as the solitary sign of development in the area. 

Xavier School Nuvali was donated by Aurora Properties, a joint venture of Ayala Land and the family of Jose A. Yulo. The act is an affirmation that Xavier School is a trusted name when it comes to basic education. School director Fr. Johnny Go, SJ plans to live up to that expectation by replicating the modern system of education he has innovated in San Juan. 

With the terrains of Mt. Makiling as its view, Xavier Nuvali is a dream school in an idyllic setting. Teachers observe that when it’s time to go home, the children walk outdoors towards the gym exclaiming, “Ahh, fresh air!” Xavier Nuvali’s buildings are constructed to bring nature into the campus. Environment-friendly materials and fixtures are used, which include a rain water collection and recycling system, double piping and natural lighting, and ventilation systems. 

Little girls are not what one associates with the exclusive Xavier School in San Juan, but it’s a welcome development that Xavier Nuvali has opened its doors to female students. The school offers a flexible coeducational system where girls and boys will be educated separately in some subject areas, but ample opportunities for interaction will be provided. This move is in accordance with studies that show girls and boys have different learning styles and formative needs.  

Xavier School Nuvali only became a possibility when the past board of directors accepted the conditional challenge of former Jesuit Provincial Fr. Noel Vasquez that the new campus should have 1/4 of its population as scholars. The new school is now set to implement a socialized tuition fee starting next year as part of this commitment to prove that it doesn’t require a fortune to be a recipient of a Xavier education. 

It’s not uncommon to hear about schools building new campuses in different parts of the country. What makes Xavier Nuvali different is that this move is not merely an organizational strategy. Fr. Go says that the school did not start with drawings or measurements but with dreams and aspirations of sharing Xavier School with more Chinese-Filipino families. In stark contrast with a corporate expansion, Xavier’s new campus is a sign of greater inclusion and solidarity as it brings Christ’s light to a greater number of Chinese-Filipino students through 21st-century Jesuit education. 

During the school’s inauguration, Aileen Ty, a teacher at Xavier Nuvali, shared that the teachers observed something surprising during the lion dance performance. While students in San Juan are bored with these performances, the Nuvali students were in awe. They were screaming with delight when the lions batted their eyelashes. They also petted the lions and insisted on a solo picture with each color. This experience speaks volumes of the mission of Xavier to introduce Chinese-Filipino students to their unique culture and heritage. They may not know it now, but these students have greater experiences in store for them that will make them appreciate the greatness of their roots and origins.

A beautiful day is foretold by the light of a new morning. Families planning to start a life away from the noise and pollution of Metro Manila should see promise in the inauguration of Xavier Nuvali. There is a no brighter sign than that of a Jesuit School that has the reputation of molding young Chinese-Filipino students into becoming the country’s most productive citizens. Xavier’s light foretells and awaits the emergence of a new Chinese-Filipino community in the city of Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

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Editor’s note: The writer is a current employee of Xavier School. 


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