The country's premier high school is gearing up for a big splash on its 50th anniversary in 2014. Last Sept 6, 2010, the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) system announced a bold fundraising drive in preparation for its golden anniversary four years from now.
Dubbed "50@50", the plan is to raise fifty million pesos from donations to augment the official budget of the country's oldest and widest science high school system.
PSHS System Executive Director Filma Brawner roundly welcomed the early start of the golden anniversary fundraiser. “This can only boost our pursuit of giving leading-edge science education, that is best seen and achieved by making available enablers, science learning opportunities, and a challenging environment, especially for our students.”
The PSHS was set up 46 years ago as a one-campus school for young science scholars through Republic Act 3661 signed into law in 1963 by then President Diosdado Macapagal. Since 1998, it has been transformed via Republic Act 8496 into the PSHS System that now encompasses eleven campuses and more than 3500 students nationwide. Since 1969, when the first batch of PSHS graduates made it, the school has been known for its alumni excelling not only in the fields of math and sciences, but in all fields of social endeavor. Among its more than 13,500 alumni are former NEDA secretary general and columnist Cielito Habito, former health undersecretary Mario Taguiwalo, former AFP Chief-of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Congressman Jun Abaya (1st district, Cavite), Mapua president Rey Vea, renowned surgeons Ernesto Baello and Rafael Consunji, acclaimed environmentalists Rodel Lasco and Luis Tupas, former UP Diliman College of Engineering deans Edgardo Atanacio and Rowena Guevara, IT stalwart Delfin Jay Sabido, columnists and multi-awarded writers Butch Dalisay and Jessica Zafra, Ibon Foundation executive director Antonio Tujan, indie filmmaker Aureaus Solito, Ayala corporate CEO Gil Genio, Accenture CEO Jaime del Rosario, San Miguel Brewing International chairman Carlos Berba, and former Cultural Center of the Philippines president Nes Jardin.
Despite a glowing roster of alumni, Pisay--as it has been fondly called of late by its students, a moniker that broke into the public vocabulary with an internationally-recognized Filipino film bearing this name made by alumnus Solito--has long borne a quite limited budget. Funds for basic school equipment, specially for laboratories and related supplies as well as the now-customary computers, have long been lacking. Programs to raise the skills of the teachers tasked to teach the country's "creme de la creme" are wanting. The newest campuses of the PSHS system--those in Baguio and San Fernando, Pampanga--are currently renting spaces that are clearly inadequate.
At the press briefing announcing the drive, Mrs. Montejo, representing DOST Secretary Mario Montejo gave an inspirational message. This was responded to by Director Filma Brawner, Mr. Frix Africa, president of the PSHS Foundation and Jocelyn Sanchez Mendoza, president of the PSHS National Alumni Association (PSHSNAA). The PSHSNAA and the PSHS Foundation, in partnership with the school, are the major organizations behind the 50@50 campaign.
During the launch, an AVP presentation dramatized the needs of the school. The official logo for the campaign—the winner of a previous logo making contest—was also unveiled. PSHS Main campus batch ’70 kicked off the alumni response to the 50@50 campaign with their donation of Php100,000 during the event, A website to serve as the fundraiser’s hub is afoot, and events under the drive will soon roll out and will be announced in time.