BUENA PARK, Calif. – On May 25, at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel, the Marist School Marikina celebrated its 55th anniversary grand reunion with the theme ‘Celebrating Our Marist Life…The Legacy Continues,’ hosted by the Marist Alumni Abroad, and coordinated by Arthur ‘Jojo’ P. Armada, Batch ’77.
“Marist School,” says Jojo, “is an all-boys Catholic School in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains of Marikina established in 1964, by the Marist Brothers.” Website shows an address of #83 Champagnat Ave., Marikina Heights, Marikina City 1810.
Marcellin Champagnat was born in 1789, in Marlhes, France. In 1817, St. Marcellin, a priest, founded the Marist Brothers, a religious congregation of Brothers in the Roman Catholic Church devoted to Mary and dedicated to education with the goal of educating young people, especially those most neglected,
On June 21, 1948, four Marist Brothers from the United States arrived in the Philippines, and worked in the schools in the Diocese of Cotabato, where the Oblate Fathers have their missions. The four Brothers, headed by Br. Maurus James Doherty, FMS supervised Notre Dame of Cotabato Boys’ Dept. (1948); Notre Dame of Marbel (1950); Notre Dame of Lagao (1952); Notre Dame of Dadiangas (1953); Notre Dame of Kidapawan (1954); and Notre Dame of Jolo (1959). (FMS stands for Fratres Maristae a Scholis or Marist Brothers of the Schools.)
Fourteen years later, in 1962, a scholasticate or seminary in Manila area was established. Two years later, Marist School, with a five-classroom building, opened its doors to 150 elementary pupils enrolled in ‘Prep, Grades 1, 2, 3, and 4.’ The first elementary graduation took place in 1968, where 35 Grade 7 and 41 Grade 6 boys received their diplomas. In 1972, the first batch of high school students graduated.
The early years of the 70s were known as the “First Quarter Storm, according to Jojo, “characterized by student unrest and activism.” In September 1972, Martial Law was declared.
Fast forward to 1991, after tremendous growth, innovations and improvements – Marist School is the first school in Marikina City to have a swimming pool, according to Wikipedia. It is the only school also in Marikina to have two tennis courts, a track and field oval, a football pitch, a baseball field and seven basketball/volleyball courts – three courts in the High School gym, another court in the Grade School gym and one in the new gymnasium near the field – Marist School was given national recognition when its President Br. Manuel V. De Leon received the prestigious award, The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines, for his contribution in the field of education.
Marist School has a special program for the poor by allowing young boys and girls to study in high school by attending classes in the late afternoon until the early evening. The education of these students is subsidized by the income of the school supplemented by the contributions of generous sponsors such as the alumni and other civic minded individuals and organizations.
In a message to the Marist Alumni Abroad, school President Bro. Nino Pizarro, FMS, stated: “I am truly grateful for the work of the Spirit through the many Marists of Champagnat who are attracted to St. Marcellin’s charism and spirituality.
“As we celebrate our 55 years,” he continued, “along with the celebration of all Marists of Champagnat in the world who just celebrated the 200 years of the Congregation, it is also fitting to be grateful for the presence of each one, for God’s love and gifts and for the invitation to a deeper commitment to journey together, and to serve others and to see the world through the eyes of the poor people and young children. It is also good to be more life-giving and joyful in our life, to develop a culture of charity and forgiveness and, to change our hearts and attitudes for greater vitality and commitment in our journey. Our good mother, Mary, will be with us always in this journey.”
Bro. Crispin P. Betita, FMS, Marcellin Foundation, Inc. director included in his message a quote from accountant and financial expert Cesar Purisima, a Marist alumnus: “Because I was fortunate enough to learn from the charism of St. Marcellin Champagnat… I now try my very best, as a public servant to live and encourage a culture of transparency, community, generosity, optimism, and humility. These are the values that result in excellence and integrity in human beings, regardless of their origin and social standing. These are the values that Marist School celebrates.” (Cesar Purisima was the Secretary of Finance of the Republic of the Philippines under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III.)
Jojo echoes the sentiments of Sec. Purisima. “Tonight we celebrate our Marist life and honor the legacy of our parents and the Marist education they afforded us during our formative years,” he greeted Marist alums. “We are forever grateful to them for providing us the quality education, along with the Marist values and principles of simplicity, humility, and modesty in guiding us in our youth. Let’s not forget our motto: Ad Jesum per Mariam or To Jesus through Mary.”
Bro. Pat Corpus, FMS, Marist School President (2006-2014) wishes that the reunion in Los Angeles “will be a time of fun and a chance to rekindle friendships and to remember good high school memories.”
Members of the Steering Committee: Arthur Armada, ’77; Gilbert D. Rabuco ’75; Erik F. Tengco ’77; Roberto M. Santa Cruz ’78; Raffy De Leon ’79; Rockie Reyes ’82; and Nony Aquino ’88.
In conclusion, we share Gilbert’s post on FB: “Salamat, Jojo. You led this group through very tough challenges. As always ‘Marist Boys’ prevailed. The school spirit is high and strong. Cheers to a very successful 55th Marist Reunion. Ever and Forever, my Brothers!”