BAGUIO CITY – The city council approved on third reading a proposed ordinance establishing, inaugurating and instituting June 16, 1916 as the foundation day of the Baguio City National High School, appropriating funds for its formal celebration and its centennial celebration this year and for other purposes.
The ordinance stated that the amount of P100,000 shall be appropriated and provided in the 2016 annual budget of the city for the upcoming centennial celebration of the largest public secondary institution in the city on June 16, 2016.
At the same time, the ordinance cited that the city shall immediately work out the recognition and marking of the school as a historical school with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
Earlier, stakeholders of the institution have been conducting numerous researches on the history of the school, particularly aimed to have the foundation of the school established.
The NHCP, acting on a request made by Ed Tipton, a member of Class 1956 of the school, to have October 24, 1919 as the foundation day of the school, pointed out in a letter signed by then acting Executive Director Emelita V. Almosara dated December 14, 2010, the need of further research to obtain a definitive and more comprehensive history of the school, from its founding to the present while stressing on various observations.
The NHCP raised the fact that a provincial high school was organized in Baguio in 1902, with three teachers, and offering both industrial and agricultural subjects.
It was learned that there was a general course high school called Mountain and Richard B. Patterson was its principal in 1924-1927 and the general course high school was different from the normal school, and from the agricultural and farm schools.
In 1923, the city council passed a resolution providing funding for “the establishment of a fourth year class in the Mountain Province High School.”
According to Plata (1935, secondary source), the Baguio Trade School was the old name of the Mountain Province High School. It had an annex or extension in Trinidad valley, the Trinidad Agriculture School which could be confirmed by the 1902 report saying agricultural courses were offered in the high school in Baguio.
The Trinidad Agriculture School is also mentioned in the 1926 annual report as belonging to the Mountain division.
Wilson (1956, secondary source) stated that the first secondary school in Baguio was the normal school founded in 1916, later named Mountain Province High School, the same name used by Plata in 1935,) whose normal subjects were later transferred to the Trinidad Agricultural High School in 1933 and the same as the Baguio Extension School mentioned by Plata in 1935.
However, if one considers the 1902 Philippine Commission Report, the first high school in Baguio City offered industrial and agricultural courses, while the 1926 Annual Report of the Bureau of Education, differentiated the general course high school from the normal school whose list does not cite a normal school in Baguio.
NHCP issued a certification dated September 27, 2012 stating ‘three important events transpired in 1916; the first year of the secondary course or high school level was established; a normal course was added and the Trinidad Agriculture School was established in La Trinidad as its extension school.”
The secondary or high school level and normal curriculum of the school, therefore, officially started in 1916, marking 1916 as the foundation of the high school.
With the latest certification from the NHCP, the BCNHS family signified its intention to establish June 16, 1916 as the foundation day of the school, explaining further that while the NHCP certification provided only the year 1916 as marking the foundation of the school, with the opening of classes being normally in the month of June, it will not be difficult to conclude that the BCNHS was founded in June 1916 and opened classes with a normal curriculum together with extension school, the La Trinidad Agriculture School now the State-run Benguet State University, on June 16, 1916 which the latter has adopted and is observing as its foundation day.
BSU will also be celebrating its centennial anniversary on June 16, 1916.
By Dexter A. See