Where do “mountains” go to die?

I make no qualms about being a probinsyana. My early years of consciousness was created and molded in Pangasinan and while I do thank Harvent School for the years I was with them, it was JASMS that made me this way.

From a parental perspective, I now appreciate what JASMS was imparting with us. It wasn’t just knowledge and having to memorize stuff just so we can get a passing grade. We were challenged to think and to understand the results of our actions. We were taught how to be critical thinkers but be peaceful in implementing process. We were taught to be catalysts of change. We were taught to be productive members of the family, community and society. It was their mission to guide us to be well rounded individuals who think for ourselves. We were encouraged to speak up, to question authority, to ask the proverbial “why” and the all important “why not?”

We were taught practical real life processes – cooking, household accounting, sewing, woodwork and carpentry, and even farming and raising poultry. I remember that duckling that Krista Dalena was so attached to. I believe we named him George. We raised that duckling into a proud duck who had ducklings of his own – although housing them with the chickens gave them a bit of an identity crisis. Even that was a lesson in life for us! They were teaching us about diversity and being accepting. Doesn’t matter if you’re a duck, a goose or a chicken – you can live harmoniously with each other.

We celebrated differences, we respected opinions and beliefs, we insisted in the most peaceful and democratic way of solving conflicts and disputes (or maybe the singing of the song “From A Distance” every week had a subconscious effect on us).

As everyone has heard, JASMS is now bought by STI and the whole QC campus is going to be “developed”. The farm, that raised hundreds of tilapia and a small harvest of rice have been long buried under cement. The mountain, where fist fights and first kisses were made, will be flattened and the face carved on that huge rock will be a memory. The halls and the classrooms will look better and technology will improve the academic processes but will the kind of education still be the same?

My children just hear stories about how I was in school and how cool my school was. They asked if they could go to school there but they know it’s too far away from where we live and it isn’t the same school anymore, sadly.

My son asked me about the “mountain” and if they were going to keep it. “I’m not sure, sweetie” I said as I patted his head. “Well, where do mountains go to die?” he asked. “Where do you think?” I asked back. He scratched his head and said “I’ll have to research on that” I patted his head again and whispered “Now you’re thinking like a JASMS kid”

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