NAGA City, June 18, 2013—The decision to close the Holy Rosary Seminary High School in Naga in 1986, has changed not only the course of priesthood formation but also the educational sphere in Caceres. As one of the top and most reputable schools in the region, the High School Department of the Holy Rosary Seminary was then perceived to weather whatever difficulty its closure would entail. Unknown to its proponents, the need for preparing would-be seminarians while still in the high school rears up every now and then. Thus, in June of 2013, 40 young men started a life far different from the teenagers of today.
Closing the Seminary High School
During its existence, the Seminary High School produced students who topped and excelled in government-administered exams. They were, so to say, the cream of the crop. However, the High School Department produced a small number of priests. While vocation was present, few became men of the cloth. According to a research conducted by the Caceres Office of Research and Development (CORD), vocations were nurtured and pursued by students from the Preparatory Institute. Because of this, the Archdiocese saw the High School as a liability more than it is an asset, not only to the Archdiocese but to society as a whole.
After several meetings, it was decided, in November of 1986, that the High School Department would gradually cease operations, starting with closing its first year on June of 1987. By March 1990, all remaining students have graduated and the High School Department became a prestigious part of the Church history of Nueva Caceres.
NPS: Breaking New Grounds
In July of 2012, the Naga Parochial School (NPS) celebrated its 65th year with the theme, Breaking New Grounds. Indeed, NPS broke new grounds last March when Director, Fr. Rex Andrew Alarcon, announced that the highly esteemed elementary school for boys will not only accept female applicants come June of this year, but also begin its High School Department.
Part of this sudden change is rooted in the program being implemented by the current Government Administration, the K-12 Educational Reform. Opening a High School Department will provide a choice for the School’s elementary students to continue their education at the Naga Parochial School. And as globalization continues to influence, and at times, dictate, the morality of young men and women, the demand for quality Catholic education increases. By expanding, NPS continues to meet this demand.
On the other hand, the decision to provide a co-educational setting was in part a response to a survey conducted to parents, most of whom opted for the said paradigm shift. At an early age, young boys would be taught how to behave properly around girls and young girls would experience how it is to carry themselves in the company of males. Providing this would allow children to grow up more maturely, not only socially but also emotionally.
As of date, 50 students are enrolled at the High School Department, 40 of which are part of the Seminary High School Program. Of the remaining 10, four are females. Currently, there are 120 females enrolled at NPS.
Re-opening the Seminary High School
If there is one thing that the Seminary High School is known for, it is the kind of discipline developed in its graduates, most of whom are highly regarded leaders in their respective fields. More than twenty years since its cessation, however, it is still the kind of discipline needed by many young men and women, more so by men called to pursue the priestly ministry. Education and formation are so very important.
With the re-opening of the Seminary High School, Classical education would go hand-in-hand with the K-12 Educational Reform at NPS. Still focusing on Math and Science, Latin will be taught as one of the subjects. However, as part of adapting to a post-modern world, students of the Seminary High School will now take classes at NPS, where the setting is now co-educational, and live at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary. They will be entitled to two home visitations every month.
Although many elementary students from NPS have continued their education at the Seminary High School before, having produced 65 priests and 3 bishops, it is not the main goal of the current High School Department to set a quota on how many would pursue priesthood. After all, according to the Minor Seminary Rector, Fr. William Parde, this [education and formation] is their greatest contribution to the community.
Nation building has always been at the core of every educational institution. The reforms established today prove just that, and it is in this way that the Naga Parochial School and the Seminary High School contribute to the leaders of tomorrow. (Natalie Hazel P. Quimlat/Jose Fernando Obias)