It has rather been a long time since I last visited the Dr. Santiago P. Dakudao, Sr. National High School (DSDSNHS) located along Malagamot Road, Panacan, Davao City.
I had to go this time as the school head/assistant principal II, the lovely and bright Mary Joy H. Simo-ag, Ph.D., sent me an invitation to attend the 25th Foundation Day celebration of the only national high school in Malagamot, Panacan, which is named after my dear grandfather. Both my grandfather and my father (Dr. Santiago Lacson Dakudao, Jr.) believed that it is better to build schools for the youth rather than prisons for men.
Was I in for a surprise!
The Malagamot Road leading to the school is now paved in concrete thus making it a smooth ride all the way unlike before when it was more of a dirt road. Change has, indeed, transformed the area into somewhat like an industrial zone with the presence of such establishments as the Philippine-Japan Active Carbon, Nakashin International Pharmaceuticals, Inc., CENAPRO, DN Steel, Beta Spring, to mention some. Even the school’s once sprawling compound planted with lots of trees and foliage now has many additional buildings built on it including the new annex building of the Vedasto F. Corcuera Elementary School.
According to the information given by the school’s faculty, the DSDSNHS was established in 1981 as an annex school of the Francisco Bangoy National High School. There were only four pioneering teachers then. The school had to close later due to the lack of students owing reputedly to insurgency problems in the area. In 1993, the school was reopened with the Panacan community’s need for secondary education. The school had 135 students then comprising first and second-year grades. While on its third year of operations, the school had produced 34 graduates.
The Dr. S.P. Dakudao, Sr. National High School is built on the 4,693 sq.m. lot donated by my grandfather. When the informal settlers occupying some of the properties of the Dakudao & Sons Corporation were relocated by the Dakudao family on a 3.20-hectare property in Malagamot near the school, naturally their children also studied at DSDSNHS. As of the present, there are about 1,700 students enrolled at the DSDSNHS.
Despite the traffic leading to Malagamot, I was able to attend on time the Foundation Day Program. It was truly a warm welcome I got from the faculty led by Dr. Simo-ag. I was caught unprepared when masters of ceremonies Mary Cris L. Ramos and Grey Fuss P. Recina announced for me to give a message. I was more than happy though to have been given the chance to personally express my gratitude to the teachers, past and present, who have been touching so many lives of our youth through their devotion and hard work as educators. A number of the teachers who are presently teaching in the school are themselves proud graduates of the DSDSNHS. I know my grandparents and parents up there are truly happy with this precious legacy they left behind.
The program started with an energetic number from the DSDSNHS Drum and Lyre Corps. Oh my, the majorettes were all pretty and talented. Next came a hip hop number from Grade 7 students; a retro remix dance from Grade 8 students; a ballroom dance presentation from Grade 9 students; and a folk dance showcase from Grade 10 students followed immediately by a neo-ethnic presentation from the Seniors. The Galileo Singing Guild of the Math Club was the lone presenter of songs. Next, I was instructed to render a salute and give an order for the Dakudanian Scouts to start their fancy drill which I was just too willing to do. I was reminded of the time when I was the Corps Commander of our Military Training at La Salle High School.
Given due recognition for his devoted service for 25 years of teaching was Cristobal Christopher C. Berandoy followed by Melanie Y. Lagrada, Imelda B. Sia, Geraldine G. Maribojoc, and Dr. Mary Joy H. Simo-ag for their 20 years of dedicated serv
ice as educators.
After the Community Lunch, the Search for Mr. & Miss Dr. Santiago Dakudao, Sr. National High School was held. Owing to my busy schedule, it was unfortunate I wasn’t able to meet the candidates nor judge in the school’s pageant.
The traffic going home from the DSDSNHS in Malagamot was heavy. Yes, change has come, indeed, to what was once an idyll rural area.
Congratulations, Dr. Santiago P. Dakudao, Sr. National High School, faculty and student body.