A SCHOOL that survived its diamond jubilee and is midway to its platinum jubilee is not easy to find just anywhere in the country, moreso in a city that is just 75 years old.
The Davao Central High School, formerly named Davao Chinese High School, only had 24 students in its two-classroom structure when it was founded in 1924. With just a rented space along San Pedro Street, it struggled to offer Chinese and English programs.
During that time, the Philippines' history is about its battle for a new educational system being established with English as medium of instruction. Davao, that time, began to mark its role as a new growth center of the Philippines.
Don Francisco Lim-Juna Villa-Abrille, patriarch of the Villa-Abrille-Juna clan in Davao City, donated a one-hectare lot for the school where construction of the buildings started. After 20 years of development, three-classroom buildings and a dormitory were constructed and the student population increased to more than 300. Although buildings were destroyed during the Second World War, more classroom buildings were constructed after the war.
In 1965, the City Government expropriated 1,789 square meters of the school property for Sta. Ana Avenue, which cuts through the campus dividing it into two. This is now the road we pass through heading to the streets of Sta. Ana, Agdao, and Uyanguren.
The name was changed in 1976 to Davao Central High School following the implementation of Presidential Decree 176 that required the "Filipinization" of all alien schools in the country.
In 1980s, the modernization of the school started in the 1980s with the construction of new buildings. From then on, the physical facilities of the school have kept on improving and the school has become responsive to the challenges of society.
Just last month, the school celebrated its 88th Foundation Anniversary themed “Strengthening the culture of service, virtue and excellence”. The school gave tribute to Don Francisco and rendered a thanksgiving to all led by Edison L. Lu, Board of Trustee chair.
He thanked Don Francisco and his clan for the lot donation which has become instrumental in the founding of the school. Chair Lu also thanked the alumni and the parents for their continuous support to the school.
"I thank the administration for doing their best to carry on the mission of giving the students the education that will form them holistically," he said.
Lawyer Leoncio Villa-Abrille, in his response to the tribute, said Don Francisco lived a simple yet colorful life. Don Francisco, he said, felt the need to share his blessings.
"He wanted boys and girls to attain an education that would have a good blend of the Filipino and Chinese culture," he added.
Lu, on the other hand, imparted words of wisdom to the students as he said ñstudy well and strive to develop positive attitude and good habits. He also said that students should take advantage of the Chinese curriculum as this can be contributory to their success in the future.
During the anniversary celebration, teachers showcased their talents in a Broadway Musical. The Administration Council won first prize in their Beauty and the Beast version. The non-teaching staff in their Phantom of the Opera adaptation won second, and the Math and Science teachers' Newsies came in third.
Today, the school caters to more than 500 elementary and high school students who are recipients of quality education and excellence, student leadership, and character and values formation.
The school emblem, represented by the five-leaf clover which is the national flower of China known as Mei Hwa, symbolizes nobility, strength of character, courage and persistence û all significant for the foundation of the school.
This school looks forward to its platinum jubilee just a couple of years from now. But for the meantime, it will continue to improve to meet the challenges of times.