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Wednesday, June 05, 2013

A New School Year

School has officially begun, and it's been a bit of a whirlwind of activities with which to deal. There are new responsibilities, new students, etc.; there is always something new in every school year. As a result, each school year is a renewal of sorts, and no school year is ever the same.

Hovering above this school year is the second year of the K-12 implementation, as mandated and signed into law by the President. To this end, the Ateneo has taken steps to adjust to the new system, by establishing a junior high school, and upgrading the curriculum from grades 1 to 12. A number of my colleagues in the high school have moved to the grade school campus in order to help shepherd the new systems, and, based on their Facebook posts, they seem to be having a ball.

On our end, as a result of the great migration, the high school has taken in a large number of new teachers, each one eager to prove themselves. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and helps add to the newness of the situation. The high school faculty is also joined by two member of the grade school faculty.

One of the things that makes this year special is that it's the 40th anniversary of the historical document penned by then-Superior General Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., which laid the foundations for the concept of being "persons-for-others" as part of the Jesuit education. As Fr. Arrupe concludes in his July 31, 1973 address to the 10th International Congress of Jesuit Alumni of Europe,

Men-and-women-for-others:  the paramount objective of Jesuit education – basic, advance, and continuing – must now be to form such men and women.  For if there is any substance in our reflections, then this is the prolongation into the modern world of our humanist tradition as derived from the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius.  Only by being a man-or-woman-for-others does one become fully human, not only in the merely natural sense, but in the sense of being the “spiritual” person of Saint Paul.  The person filled with the Spirit; and we know whose Spirit that is:  the Spirit of Christ, who gave his life for the salvation of the world; the God who, by becoming a human person, became, beyond all others, a Man-for-others, a Woman-for-others.
The Ateneo has taken this to heart, and has endeavored to incorporate it into its mission and vision. I'm looking forward to how the high school will be celebrating this historic occasion.

On my end, I'm still one of the prefects, this time for first year, which, I hope, will allow me to help form the freshmen, and set them on the right path. It's a lofty goal, but, as a former high school principal once said, "Aim for the stars; at least, you'll hit the trees." I'm aiming to aim high.

All in all, I'm looking forward to this school year, and I'm excited at the opportunities that lie ahead. Here's hoping for a wonderfully busy school year.


Dino said...

Hello sir, just out of curiosity, but if I'm not mistaken, there is no more Prep in the Grade School. So the sections are now called Grade 1-, 2-, ..., until Grade 8-.

Any plans for the High School to refer to the high school levels as 9A, 9B, 9C, ..., 12N. Or is the old system (1A, 2A, ..., 4N) staying for now?

Frederick Tomas said...

This year is the last set of the old high school numbering, but it's not yet clear how next year will be. It's very possible that we'll have 9A, 9B, and so forth next year. :)