Quezon National High School
A Century Hence
Most of us do not realize that at the same time QNHS celebrates its centennial year of its foundation, the entire Philippines and United States are also celebrating the centennial year of the coming of the Thomasites in July 1901.
Quezon High is one of the institutions founded by the Thomasites, a band of American teachers who came to the Philippines after the war in order to perform an arduous task of establishing educational institutions, a public school system that have far-reaching influence in the life of the Filipinos.
The Thomasites, composed of young men and women trained by some of the best educational institutions in the USA came with books, papers, pencils, blackboards, musical sheets of American music and folk songs and literally Americanized the Filipinos. Some Filipino historians lamented that this was the start of the ‘miseducation’ of the Filipinos after the Spanish era when most students learned to chase the American dream instead of the Filipino dream fought valiantly. After 100 years, now most Filipinos consider this American experiment of preparing the Filipinos for nationhood, a long, lasting and rewarding legacy unmatched in world history.
What post Taliban Afghanistan will eventually be experiencing during the coming months in terms of rehabilitation and establishing new educational institutions, the Philippines had already undergone such change with the help of the Americans amidst the struggle and laden years of the last 100.
The highest ideals of American education form the basis of the foundation of Quezon National High School. A government “of the people, by the people, for the people” was instilled in the minds of young Quezonians.
Tarlac High School was the first one to be established by the Thomasites on September 21, 1902 making this school the oldest public high school of its kind in the Philippines. Quezon High, presumably the second oldest, was established two weeks later.
It was the time when King Edward VII was crowned as the new king of England at Westminster Abbey following the death of his mother Queen Victoria August 1902. Charles Lindbergh, American aviator and John Steinbeck, US novelist were newly born. Carnegie Institute in Washington DC held its first class that same year.
Same time halfway in the opposite side of the globe, 50 new enrollees were eager to begin their class in a convent in Lucena, the first batch of Quezon High with Audrey Boyle as the principal.
The building was destroyed by typhoon in June 1906 so the provincial government at that time relocated the school at the Southwestern part of Lucena and named it the Tayabas High School.
A nipa hut was built in 1912 with the new principal - Henry H. Balch. It was located at the north of Saint Ferdinand parish church near the market.
In the 1902-1935, the teachers were mostly Americans and five graduates who subsequently graduated from the school became teachers as well after graduating from the University of the Philippines. Areas of concentration were English, Agriculture, Reading, Grammar, Geography, and Mathematics. Notable principals during the last 100 years included: Francisco N. Baltazar, himself graduate of the school and the first woman principal- Paciencia Daleon. Between 1902-1935 most teachers were Americans.
Early curriculum listed as follows: general course, trade course, and courses in housekeeping and household arts. Household Arts had twenty-three (23) girls who were then placed in the first, second, third, and fourth year respectively. Sewing, crocheting, and cooking were added to reading, grammar, and arithmetic.
The Trade school in 1910 had twenty-four (24) boys who studied Manual Trading, Mechanical drawing, freehand drawing, reading, grammar and arithmetic as well. Athletics for boys were baseball and track and field while girls enjoyed tennis, indoor baseball and basketball.
The present school program that Quezon National High School adopts includes Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Filipino Values Education, English, Physical Education, Health and Music, Technology and Home Economics as requirements in every curricular year.
One of the most prestigious assets during high school is being a member of the staff of THE COCONUT which was founded in 1928. As the school tabloid celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2003 most staffers will take time off to reminisce the literary crafts that marveled the pages of this school paper for the last 75 years. It is another milestone to celebrate.
“The Coconut, the four-page tabloid served to enhance the name of the school in 1928 was issued twice with Filemon O. Juntereal Jr. as the first Editor-in-Chief. The magazine was published as the graduation issue. Gabriel Tuazon was the first Pilipino co-adviser and later in 1944, Rosario Atienza became the first Pilipino Adviser."
In 1948, the indefatigable Marie Delicia Teofila Zaballero Unson became the adviser. The COCO gained multitude of awards during her stint landing the paper as the third best in the country within the 40 years of her service to the paper and school.
“It is inconceivable to think of the COCONUT without necessarily associating it with MDTZU. Both the school paper and her seem to coexist with each other”, noted Milwida Sevilla, ’58 a former COCO adviser as well.
In 1968, the COCONUT staffers were disqualified in group and individual contests during the March 11-15, 1968 National Secondary Schools Press Conference. QPHS was the host school during that year barring contestants from our high school. COCO staff of 68 realized at the last minute they could not compete being the host of that year. They were excluded in all contests in conformity with the rules of the NSSPC.
On June 10, 1983 through the initiatives of Cesar Villariba, former assemblyman Quezon Provincial High School was converted into Quezon National Comprehensive High School in accordance with Republic Act 458.
Quezon National High School is in constant search for excellence in the field of education and will continue to be one of the leading public high schools in the Philippines today. Graduates of Quezon High from around the world will flock on October 3-5, 2002 to pay tribute to the school that produced pillars of nation building since the time of its inception.
On July 20, 2002 Quezon High alumni residents of North America will rewrite the school’s history with the first ever alumni homecoming outside of the Iyam campus- in another continent, in a grander scale in celebration of the centennial year of the school’s foundation. The location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.