I would just like to inform everyone of some key developments in our common pursuit of making SMS the best school in Mt. Province by 2008 and in the Cordilleras by 2013.
Firstly, Brent School Manila (the most profitable Brent branch, where I am a member of the Board of Trustees) has confirmed in writing its willingness to help St. Mary's in upgrading its educational standards on a sustainable basis. I will be making a presentation to the Brent Board during the annual board retreat in Baguio on the various needs of SMS and how Brent can help. As a first step, Brent Manila will be sending its librarian next month to see how the SMSA library can be further upgraded.
Secondly, Mapua Institute of Technology (which has become one of the leading colleges in the country after it was taken over by Ambassador Yuchenco) has agreed in principle to having SMS as one of its outreach institutions and will be sending one of its deans to SMS in January 2004 to see how Mapua can be of further help. Mapua had already donated a truckload of laboratory equipment and supplies to SMS in 2001 and it was Ambassador Yuchengco himself who put up a new SMS building after the old one was burned down.
Finally, I personally accompanied Dr. Josette Biyo and her husband on a highly successful visit to Sagada last weekend. For those who may have not heard about her, Dr. Bito is a high school science teacher in Philippine Science High School Iloilo who won several national awards and in 2002 won the 2002 Intel International Award for science teaching, besting over 4000 contestants from all over the world (including the United States) in a final competition in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the first Asian to ever win such award. As a result, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory named a newly-discovered planet between Mars and Jupitar as Planet Biyo. Various educational institutions and corporations all over the Philippines, including San Miguel, have invited her to speak before students, employees and excutives. I believe that every Filipino who heard her has been inspired by her story. In Sagada, she spoke before students and teachers and inspired them to do their best in everything they do. She made the teachers proud of their profession and are now eager to learn new teaching methods, including how to make science and mathematics interesting to students. They appealed to her to return to Sagada to conduct a workshop this summer. She was so overwhelmed by the warmth of the recption that she cried whils speaking. Although she is fully booked for the next several months speaking and conducting workshops all over the country and therefore could not immediately say yes, she has assured me that she will do everything to accomodate SMS. One thing going for us is that she has been captivated by the beauty of Sagada. I told her to bring her family.
Through institutional linkages with Brent, Mapua, and hopefully Josette's own school, Philippine Science High School in Iloilo, where she has proposed that SMS teachers be sent for training during the summer of 2005, I am now more than ever confident that we can make SMS a world-class institution. This, however, requires cooperation and commitment from all the alumni, friends, and other stakeholders of SMS.
I will keep you updated on future developments.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.
Have a good day.