BAGUIO CITY – Baguio Central School celebrated its 116th Foundation Day on September 2, 2015, a day later than the Baguio Day. It is said to be the first public elementary school in the Philippines opened during the American Regime. It was founded in 1899 as a one room school in a house owned by Mr. Mateo Carino, who later donated two hectares of land where it stood, to the government for the Central School site.
The school had reeds (rono) and tall grass (Cogon) roof, rough- hewn wood for walls and floor and was built low on the ground. About twenty- five boys, mostly “Igorots”, formed the class with a certain Mr. Patrick from the American Armed Forces as the teacher.
The pupils were all young men, the youngest was 18 years old, with Dr. Jose Carino and Mr. Maximo Carantes among them.
They recall that they sat on low wooden benches (bagnio), used American books for reading, and slates and chalk for writing. Instruction was concentrated on the teaching of reading, writing, and the speaking of English language. The school became bigger in 1901 with a combination of female students, and in 1914 a complete elementary school was established, all teachers were Americans.
The school also met struggles and ups and downs as it grows; it was stopped during World War II under the Japanese Regime, was destroyed and damage by natural calamities such as typhoons and earthquake, but still recovered and stood as a strong institution. As years passed, more classrooms were built to meet the rapid increase of population of pupils. It was renovated by the Department of Education and Heritage conservation Society (HCS), in 2004 and was declared as one of the heritage schools in the country.
It is now the biggest elementary school in the city with the largest number of pupils, faculty and staff, at about 70 classrooms 3,300 pupils and 83 personnel.
It is situated at the side of the Baguio City Hall along Yandoc Street, Labsan Barangay. Baguio’s oldest elementary school serves as among the landmarks in the city of Pines and a symbol for a strong foundation of Education in the Region.