CHS is keeping up with the timesBy Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Before the College of the Holy Spirit in Manila (CHSM) turns 100 years old in 2013, its officials are working to change the image of the school from “conservative and low-key to creative and service-oriented.”
“We are reinventing the College of the Holy Spirit to make it relevant to the needs of the times,” said Felina Co Young, the first lay president of CHSM, which was founded in 1913 by the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS).
Sr. Eden Panganiban, SSpS provincial leader, said the school had been undergoing a transition period since the religious order handed over its management to lay people.
Panganiban said the transition would continue “as they (the new management) define, as they reinvent themselves, [as they offer] courses that are responsive to the times.”
The CHSM was originally an exclusive school for girls. Five years ago, it opened its doors to boys. It welcomed its first lay president last year.
“Now, on our centenary, we want to emphasize and tell people that it is still the College of the Holy Spirit, with its brand of quality,” Young said, adding that they now wanted their presence to be felt in their communities.
A dozen doves
On July 16, a Mass was celebrated in Mendiola by Rev. Broderick Pabillo. It was capped by the release of a dozen doves. The event kicked off the countdown for the college’s grand centennial celebration on Feb. 2 next year.
On Aug. 2 at 9:30 a.m. in Paraclete Auditorium of CHSM, alumna Sheila Coronel, a Ramon Magsaysay Award winner, will talk on “Fighting Corruption: Can the Philippines Succeed?” to launch the Dr. Isabel P. Hizon Lecture Series.
The series is named after alumna Dr. Isabel P. Hizon, who served in various roles, from college professor starting in 1931 to dean emeritus in 1994.
Coronel’s lecture is open to the public.
According to Young, in line with its goal of becoming more relevant to the times, the college was creating new courses and improving its curricula.
She said that among the courses CHS might offer next year was food technology.
“We all need to be aware of what kind of food we are eating. We also want to teach our students good nutrition,” Young said.
She said the school also had the “service learning” part in most subjects so students would know “how to apply what they’ve learned” in their respective communities.
Faculty members of the college hoped to instill in their students the idea that all of them had responsibilities to society and what they did should be of service to others.
Thus, Young said, they were implementing throughout the school the program “Yes to Kalikasan” to promote environmental consciousness among students.
“Nobody can bring plastics or Styrofoam into the school. Our canteen has also stopped selling junk food,” the CHS president said.
With school officials giving utmost importance to former students, a highlight of the College of the Holy Spirit’s centennial celebration will be activities designed for alumni.
All high school and college graduates would be asked to “come home” and reminisce about those grand old days on Feb. 1, 2013, alumna Toni Palenzuela said.
Two days later, on Feb. 3, the Gala Centennial Affair will be held which will honor 100 outstanding alumnae.
The school will also mount an exhibit featuring old photographs of Holy Spirit women since the college was founded.
“The alumni are our school’s best asset,” said Dr. Sabsy Palanca, president of the College of the Holy Spirit Alumni Foundation, in an interview.
She said that since they started reaching out to their alumni, they had been receiving generous support for the school, either in cash or in kind.
“Now our alumni are [supporting] high school students, sponsoring one student and sometimes even a [whole] class,” Palanca said.
By the time of the grand alumni celebration next year, the foundation is hoping it will have raised funds to finance the studies of 100 scholars.