Calape HS harvests sixth title from urban garden

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Monday, August 25, 2014


IT’S part of the routine of students in the Calape National High School in Daanbantayan, Cebu to arrive every day to water and take care of their vegetables.

Through their efforts, the Calape high school won their sixth award—again, in first place—in the Secondary Big School category of the Our Cebu Program.

They received the award during the first Punong Barangay Night last Friday from the Provincial Government, in partnership with Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), who awarded the top three performing schools in different categories.

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The students no longer think that gardening is a requirement for one of their subjects, said Elmer Baldespiñosa, the school principal.

“What is important is they implemented it by heart,” he said.

After the school started their vegetable garden, he said, it has not seen any malnourished students since 2008, and their scores in the National Achievement Test have improved.

Each class section has its own garden. Calape has 18 sections and 820 high school students. The school has an “urban garden”, meaning the plants are placed in containers instead of plots.

Baldespiñosa said that aside from taking care of the plants every morning, the students can bring vegetables for free when they go home, if they want.

Among their vegetables are eggplant, okra, spring onions, lemongrass, horseradish and camote tops.

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It wasn’t always easy maintaining their gardens.

When they tried to bring manure to be used as fertilizers, some of the passengers of a public vehicle scolded them because of the stench.

That hasn’t stopped the students.

Aside from Calape, the winners in second and third places for the Secondary Big School category are the Arcelo Memorial National High School in Liloan and Lamac National High School in Pinamungajan, respectively.

The schools were assessed based on five criteria: cleanliness; greening, protection and enhancement of environment; creativity, artistry and aesthetic impact; appreciation, promotion and nurturing culture and heritage; and school governance.

Winners received a plaque of recognition and garden tools.

Teachers

The Our Cebu Program, formerly known as the Expanded Green and Wholesome Environment (eGwen) program, began in 2008 during the administration of former governor Gwendolyn Garcia, now congresswoman of Cebu Province’s third district.

The program aims to create sustainable cities and towns that pay attention not only to economic growth, but also to the spiritual, human, social, cultural, political and ecological health of their communities.

It was in 2011 when the search for best schools was formally launched.

Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, who serves as Our Cebu program manager, thanked the teachers “who have done their best in taking on the challenges of the program and living up to its standards—for the good of the schools and for the welfare of the schoolchildren.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 25, 2014.

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