THE school year is about to end and with it comes the showcase of the students' output for the year. At the Davao City National High School (DCNHS), the special program for the arts-visual arts students set up an exhibit at the school gym where students from Grades 7-10 under the program show off their works, giving us a glimpse of the art they have learned and learned to love.
Entitled "Kalumuwan", it features the works of 68 SPA Visual Arts students from Grade 7 to 10 under Jay Reeve P. Guerrero, JP O. Simafranca, and Glecy Aileen E. Gonzales, and five works from senior high school students under the mentorship of Jeff Bangot. As three students interviewed revealed, they were not really into art when they started at Grade 7. But through the SPA, and a lot of sacrifices, they have learned a lot about the discipline, discovered talents they did not know they had, and learned to love to express their thoughts through their arts.
Will those who have spent four years in the special program intend to pursue the arts in senior high and college? Not necessarily.
As Allene Baculi, a Grade 10 SPA for Visual Arts student, said, she did not even know that she had any inclination toward the arts but was only encouraged by her "tito" who was a visual arts alumni. Her tito, Joseph Baculi, did not even take up fine arts or its allied courses in college. He is now a civil engineer, Allene said.
"Gusto lang niya ma-experience ko yung experience niya," Allene said, entertaining the possibility that she may also not end up making art as a career.
"I learned to love art only when I was already in Grade 8," she said.
At grade 7, it was more about learning what she got herself into. Dave John T. Ferras said SPA was not his first choice. He wanted to be in the Science and Technology Education (STE) Program, but he did not make the grade.
"I was inclined into journalism, I was doing editorial cartoons, I wasn't into colors, kasi black and white lang man ang editorial cartooning," he said of his elementary years.
"Pinagtyagaan ko para ma-learn ko baka meron pang mga hidden talent," he said, and soon learned to love it.
Like the two, Emmanuel John R. Arceno, Grade 10 of SPA Media Arts, was also not aware of such track.
"Gi-encourage lang ko sa pinsan ko na meron lagi daw SPA (It was my cousin who was encouraging me about SPA)," he said, so upon enrolment, they asked about it and learned that DCNHS does offer SPA.
"I chose Media Arts because I was already trying my hand on video editing," he said in mix English and Bisaya. "Trip-trip sa phone, cut-cut (I was already tinkering with my phone, editing videos using just cut-to-cut editing)," he said. All three do not regret having joined SPA, saying they were satisfied with everything they learned and that they found contentment in being able to create.
"Kung hindi ako nag-SPA, siguro school-house, school-house lang ang routine. Hindi ka naka-explore," Dave John said.
"You wouldn't have known the true meaning of art as being everything that is created," he added.
SPA Coordinator Jamillah Rosslynne Natividad said that many of their graduates indeed do not pursue the fine and performing arts, several choose engineering and architecture, others in entirely different fields.
DCNHS piloted the SPA in 2002 and thus they are making sure that students enrolled in this excel. Students, she said, have to maintain an average grade of 85 even though the Department of Education (DepEd) only requires 82.
"We set the standard higher because we are a pilot school and regional implementer," Teacher Jam said. from experience, too, having to balance the demands of the special program and academics require a certain level of intelligence, otherwise both will suffer.
The students would have preferred to just focus on their special program, but they are not allowed, and they shouldn't as they have to pass DepEd requirements to proceed with their academic track.
Being in the special program also carries with it the weight of maintaining the grades and just keeping at it no matter what. Young as they are, peer pressure can be more demanding such that those who fail to maintain the average grade and have to drop out of the program never stay in DCNHS to complete high school.
"Lumilipat talaga sila kasi grabe ang pressure, they feel humiliated (They transfer to other schools because the pressure can be too much)," Teacher Jam admits.
Like in Dave John and Allene's class, they started out in Grade 7 with 18 classmates, they are now down to 15 at Grade 10. Three transferred after failing to maintain the grade.
Grade 7 SPA students under Teacher Jay Reeve are Frizza Mae G. Cale, Mars Arian C. Remotigue, April Anne M. Dando, Shakira G. Ang, Venice S. Tan, Shire Louie N. Manalo, Jeanan Aya L. Opada, Belle Angeline M. Aurelio, John II F. Lim, Justin Dean L. Suel, Ralph Elvin O. Huyo, Ferr Justin B. Iremedio, John Rodney G. Delgado, Ashley John L. Peralta, Morven Kent M. Mancao, Josh Martin B. Paculba, Jericho Uriel S. Virly, Kent Renie M. Isibido, Adrian Larieh D. Acebo, and Chrisjan Exequiel B. Gornes.
Grade 8 under Teacher Glecy are: Leah Andrea L. Alfafara, Alysza Mae T. Balansag, Altheo P. Arinos, Lyra Jean E. Gumaod, Ron Angielo P. Taping, Kusgan Cecilio B. Apostol, Zhelric Lehi N. Tevar, Junelynn Bagacay, Ciela Amor C. Taboada, Julia Mary C. Pantujan, Althea R. Ranes, Darryl Doie M. Aurelio, Robert L. Cepe, Seth Jared Sayson, James Cairon Joaquin, Joachim Kyle Derecho, and Hitako Zindy Tacay.
Grade 9 under Teacher JP are: Charles David M. Bartolome, Franz Ezekiel A. Caspillo, Jefferson J. Cortez, Leo Samuel D. Fernandez, Miquille Alexis P. Go, Kyle John C. Gomez, Maverick James M. Sang-an, Caster Troy B. Sonico, Micaella E. Bernales, Ray Jean Carisse S. Cordova, Arielle G. Dolorito, Desiree T. Lamparas, Gwyneth Therese S. Quiwan, Noewella Kim A. Raperap, Lean Kaizen C. Serencio, and Windelen J. Serrano.
Grade 10 exhibitors also under Teacher Glecy are: Mark Steven M. Bartolome, Coreen Mel Mari R. Suello, Clarice G. Nacito, Dave John T. Ferras, Phoebe Micah F. Cotejo, Kirk Ryan G. Base, Bianca Camille Zamora, Allene Grace C. Baculi, Joshua C. Limpo, Cris Novel G. Yriarte, Vanessa Kaye B. Madera, Daphny C. Calais, Trini Rose O. Bunao, Mari Elizabeth D. Sumatra, and Patrick Ysmael S. Robles.