SM Foundation’s schoolbuilding donation will build relationships


By Rose de la Cruz


The Department of Education School’s superintendent of Balanga noted that the 2-storey, 4-classoom well-furnished schoolbuilding donated by SM Foundation to the historic Balanga Elementary School is not just a building to enhance the learning experience of its beneficiaries but would surely foster relationships.


Thus said Dr. Carolina Violeta, OIC Schools Division Superintendent, DepEd, Balanga City, in her speech accepting the schoolbuilding donated by SM Prime through SM Foundation, when she said that the beautiful edifice would not just create a conducive learning experience to the Grade 6 students who will occupy it but would foster (better) relationships among the teachers and students; among the students themselves and to their larger communities like the parents-teachers and visitors of the school.


Violeta said the mandate for the DepEd is to achieve the last miles—or build schools in areas that no one would erect them or in areas that are depressed, disadvantaged and underserved. Also, priority schools are those hit hard by calamities. So, BES is not one of them. “With a grateful heart, we thank you SM Foundation for picking BES in building this new edifice.”


BES is second - home to 2,682 students, majority of whom would be surprised and delighted to see the new schoolbuilding, painted in signature SM blue with markings of both SM Prime and SM Foundation on both left and right sides of the building.


“What you gave is not just a state- of- the art schoolbuilding complete with concave blackboards; wall fans; armchairs (including five pieces per classroom of left-handed chairs); toilets inside the classroom plus a lower level comfort room for the disabled, teachers’ desks and chairs; wall clocks, emergency -equipped amenities; and new additions like a book corner corner and 10-faucet handwashing area outside the building,” Violeta said adding that “this is more than what we can ask for.”


The SM Group, through SM Pampanga also donated 10 computers to the school, which was matched in number of computers donated by Mayor Francis Anthony Garcia.


This is the 93rd brand-new schoolbuilding that the SM Foundation has turned over to recipients throughout the country for a total of 300 classrooms including 14,850 armchairs (of which 180 are for left-handers), 594 concave blackboards, 296 teachers’ desks and tables, 1,182 wall fans, an overhead water tank 305 washrooms, including the PWD toilets. For these, Principal Amelia Dieto in her welcome remarks profusely thanked the SM Foundation and the SM Group for their overwhelming support to the school. At least 15,000 students are benefitting from all the new schoolbuildings that the SM Group and its partners donated throughout the country.


Dieto said that together with the students, parents and the teachers “tulong tulong naming mamahalin at iingatan ang inyong regalo sa Balanga Elementary School.” As principal, she said, “I commit to make sure that this sanctuary will stand the test of time for the future generation of students.”


Because of the overwhelming support given by the barangay and city governments, the schoolbuilding was built and completed ahead of schedule and was turned over in time for the school opening this Monday (June 3).


Among those who attended the blessing and turnover of the new schoolbuilding were executives of SM Group led by SMFI Executive Director for Education Carmen Linda Atayde and Juris Soliman, head of the schoolbuilding group; Mayor Garcia, SM and city councilor Pete Baluyot; barangay Talisay officials led by Bgy Captain Remo Camacho, students, teachers and PTA officials. A mass, ribbon-cutting and blessing preceded the signing of the memorandum of agreement for the schoolbuilding.


BES, founded in 1876, has produced numerous captains of industry and business and some political leaders as well. The BES campus is where the formal surrender of Bataan and Filipino war veterans took place, which is why it also has a public museum about World War II.


SM Supermalls Regional Operations Manager Cesar Bondoc thanked the local officials of Balanga for giving SM the opportunity to be part of the continued progress of the city, and ultimately the province, through education and other programs.


Atayde informed the local officials and BES of the ongoing scholarship program of SM Foundation, which only this year began including the province of Bataan. She asked the local DepEd and local officials to help inform the graduating students to apply for scholarships and for the local higher learning institutes to become partner-schools of the scholarship program. She narrated how the schoolbuilding program began in 2002 with only one-story, 2-classroom building, then desks and toilets were included over the years, and now even a handwashing facility and book corner are part of the donation. She said the building was completed in three months.


While the schoolbuilding was being turned over Friday, SM Foundation simultaneously held the graduation of the 3-month Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan farmers’ training program batch 199 in SM City Olongapo. A total of 116 participant-trainees (34 of them 4Ps beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development) harvested the high-value vegetables and fruits from their training program, had a mall tour (to better appreciate the quality and quantity standards of SM retail outlets nationwide) and obtained their training certificates from SM Foundation and its partner, Harbest Agriculture.


Mayor Garcia said the city also has tech-voc (technical-vocational) programs (sewing and welding) for the out-of-school youths and those who can’t get a college education, which he would gladly tie up with the tec-voc program of SM Foundation.


















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Monday, 20 January 2020
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