WHAT started in 1922 with only 67 students in a nipa hut along Magallanes Street, now 100 years later, in 2022, has over 16,000 students in numerous concrete buildings along Torres Street, now known as Davao City National High School (DCNHS).

On Wednesday, June 23, 2022, the school administration, faculty, teaching and non-personnel, students, and alumni from various generations gathered in one special occasion to commemorate the centennial milestone of the city's oldest and biggest public school.

With the theme, "A Century of Excellence, Leadership and Resiliency," various activities were conducted to launch the significant milestone, including a Mass, medical mission, motorcade, luncheon, and a centennial grand program in the afternoon.

DCNHS Head Evelyn Magno shared during the centennial program that the school became a premier public secondary school in Davao Region, and had produced quality graduates, who are not only making a mark in the city but in other parts of the world.

"They also bring validation to the quality of the academic programs installed by the founding faculty and subsequent generations, and by the optimistic entrepreneurial spirit in availability that come to define the City High graduates," Magno said.

The celebration, she said, not only honors the accomplishments of the past 100 years but also an affirmation of "moving forward and upward" in its future endeavors.

Magno also said that the school won't reach that far, without the trust and confidence of their parents as well.

History

The story of DCNHS, which has been known as "City High", unfolded.

The school was first known as the Davao Provincial High School and had its humble beginning in 1922. It was founded under the single province Davao Region.

Dominador Fernandez was the first Officer-in-Charge and later Adolfo Casolan as Principal with only three teachers to help him guide 67 students who were enrolled at the time.

When the municipality of Davao became a chartered city by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 51, series of 1937, the name of school was fittingly changed to Davao City High School.

To accommodate the increasing enrollment, a building was constructed at its present site in 1941. Unfortunately, this building was completely demolished by American bombs during the World War II in April 1945.

After liberation, classes were resumed temporarily at the Chavez Building at Claveria Street but later in March 1946, the school moved to a more spacious site at Villa Abrille Street.

In 1950, Davao City High School finally transferred to its present site along Florentino Torres Street with an area of 62,657 square meter. The spacious site was donated by the Tionko Family.

DCNHS has been referred to as the premier public secondary school in the region. It has become a leading school in Science, Math, English and the Arts. It is an avenue in implementing different thrusts and programs of the Department of Education.

During its existence, it has undergone and overcome various challenges, including the war of the 40s until the Covid-19 pandemic, which affected the schools in the entire world and was forced to shift to the digital learning modality.

However, it remains unclear as to when the school was exactly founded. DCNHS Alumni Association President Felizardo Enriquez Jr. said that various research and inquiries were conducted, but no records were found on the exact date of the founding of the school.

Enriquez said the alumni association, in coordination with the school administration and the Davao City government, a resolution was passed and approved in the City Council, led by then-Davao City Councilor and DCNHS alumni Maria Belen Sunga Acosta, declaring June 22, 1922 as the founding date of the school.

Notable alumni

With 100 years of existence and educational leadership, the school has produced a multitude of professionals, leaders, scientists, businessmen, and a thousand more individuals who contributed to the progress, and charter growth not only of the city, but the entire country as well.

Davao-based film director Jarell Serencio, a graduate of 1999, attributed the school's "quality education" to his success.

"Kung ano man ang narating ko ngayon, malaking bahagi nito ang paghubog sa akin ng City High (Whatever the success I currently enjoy, City High has a huge part of it as they molded me to who I am right now)," Serencio said.

Acosta, current Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) chairperson, also congratulated her alma mater for producing high-caliber graduates.

"The celebration marks a century of excellence, leadership, contribution, and resiliency. And along with all of the alumni, we all take pride in this achievement.

Oscar Casaysay, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Executive Director and a graduate of 1978, also sent his warm greetings.

Renowned Davao-based radio personality and current Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS) Director General Rizal Giovanni “Bong” Aportadera, a graduate of Batch 1986, also congratulated the school in a video presentation.

Lawyer Maria Ilsea Salvador, a public policy partnership lead for the Philippines of a major tech company, shared how the school produced graduates that forged their own path in contributing to the development of the city and the entire country.

Other prominent alumni of City High also include Davao artist Kublai Milan, the late Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, former Department of Budget and Management Secretary Wendell Avisado, former Councilor Peter Lavina, and broadcaster Paul Palacio.

Landmark institution

The 19th Davao City Council passed Resolution No. 026783-21 congratulating DCNHS on its centennial commemoration.

One of the highlights of the event is the unveiling of the "centennial marker" bearing the resolution of the City Council congratulating the centennial founding anniversary of DCNHS.

Councilor Pilar Braga, committee on education, science and technology chairperson, was also present during the event. In her speech, she called DCNHS or popularly known as "City High", a "landmark and monument" school to "quality education", which has a history of producing "outstanding Dabawenyos that contributed to the growth" of the city.

Braga also bared the plan of establishing a mini-museum within the campus, which would showcase the history of DCNHS, including the previous principals and other stakeholders in the past.The councilor, who also represented Incoming Sebastian Duterte during the event, said the city government will continue to support DCNHS.

Department of Education-Davao Region (DepEd-Davao) Director Allan Farnazo, who was also present during the event, lauded all the faculties from the past and the present for producing top-notch graduates.

Farnazo also thanked the City Government of Davao, particularly the 19th Davao City Council, for recognizing the accomplishments of the school throughout the years, through a Special Resolution, acknowledging its 100-year accomplishments.

Enriquez said City High had stood up and overcome these challenges.

"The Davao City National High School had proven to be resilient amidst adversities... and managed to rise up to the challenges, and do what it does best --- to produce graduates," Enriquez said.

Top officials also sent their congratulations through video presentation, including Outgoing DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, incoming Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte, and Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Indeed, your successes as individuals and community will be your significant and lasting legacy for future generations,” President Duterte said in a video message.

With the fruitful milestone, reaching 100 years is not just a record-breaking feat, but also a continuing legacy that must be preserved not only for its alumni, but also for the incoming generations 100 years from now. RGL