Catholic school damaged by quake in Tayasan rebuilt; ready for June classes

May 4, 2012 10:02 pm 

DUMAGUETE CITY, May 04 — When the magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck Negros Oriental last Feb. 6, one of the devastations left in its trail was the collapsed two-story building of the St. Anthony Academy in Tayasan.

Barely three months after, the sole Catholic high school in Tayasan is just about ready to accommodate its old students and new enrollees in June.

On Thursday, outgoing Archbishop John Du of the Diocese of Dumaguete led the blessing of at least four brand new one-level classrooms built with funds from kind-hearted donors, said Fr. Salvador Mariño, parish priest of Tayasan. Two more classrooms and an administration building are also calendared for construction, he added.

In his message to school authorities, nuns and parishioners in Tayasan, Archbishop Du said it was one of his priorities to see the St. Anthony Academy rebuilt before he left the Diocese of Dumaguete for a new assignment.

Du is set to be installed as the new Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Palo, Leyte on May 9, after having served at the Diocese of Dumaguete for ten years and nine months.

Archbishop Du also expressed gratitude to the donors who made the rebuilding of the St. Anthony Academy possible.

He hopes the St. Anthony Church and its shrine will also be repaired in the near future after these were also damaged by the earthquake.

The prelate appealed to the public to help encourage high school students to enroll at the St. Anthony Academy.

For what good would the new classrooms be if there are not enough students, he said.

School principal Jesus Ayeng said at least 18 freshman students have already enrolled for the coming school year.

The school’s last population was pegged at 109 students.

Fr. Mariño said scholarship grants offered by the Department of Education are available for poor and deserving students.

He admitted the presence of other high schools in Tayasan have contributed to the decline in the student population of the St. Anthony Academy.

The St. Anthony Academy is one of 14 schools in Negros Oriental and Siquijor under the administration of the Diocese of Dumaguete.

According to Fr. Mariño, the St. Anthony Academy has been around for 50 years and had celebrated its golden anniversary just last November.

Joining Archbishop Du and Fr. Mariño in the blessing of the new classrooms were Msgr. Gamaliel Tulabing, Msgr. Marino Ybo, nuns from various congregations, school faculty and staff and parishioners during the blessing and inauguration. (PNA) hbc/JFP

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