2000 winner
Brgy Cawayan I, San Francisco, Quezon
The Galing Pook Awards in The Philippines
The Galing Pook Awards in The Philippines
Cawayan is a remote barangay in the southern tip of the Bondoc Peninsula. The last 80 km. stretch of the road from Gumaca to San Francisco is rough and dusty. Most if not all of the residents in this area are low-income earners. Due to its great distance from the center, social services were often very deficient, particularly education. The lone academic institution, namely the Peninsula Academy was a private school that charged P270 monthly tuition fees alone. Typical parents found the fees prohibitive. At the same time, they knew how important it was to give their children a good education.
This unsettling condition prompted the barangay leadership to take the initiative in establishing a community high school to meet the education needs of its constituents. Though this seemed ambitious, given the lack of finances and dearth of other resources, the barangay built a school from wood and nipa materials. But fate tested the persistence of the community when the school burned down right after the first day of classes in 1997. The residents remained undaunted. Contributions started pouring in from the parents. Some donated their hard-earned money, others contributed construction materials, and majority provided their labor to rebuild the school. The bayanihan spirit took flesh in responding to the need of the Cawayan youth for a bigger future.
In August 1999, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) recognized the secondary school and renamed it the San Francisco National High School. What as initially a barangay high school for 98 high school freshmen now caters to 398 students from first year to third year. Only one teacher was funded by the local school board in 1997. The school now has seven teachers, five of whom are funded locally and two by DECS. From the initial one-room structure made of wood and nipa, the community high school now has four school buildings with seven rooms and basic facilities. More importantly, the school serves not only Barangay Cawayan I but other students in the poblacion and some neighboring barangays as well. Despite its limited resources, SNFHS is proud that its students excel in academics, sports and general conduct. Students have won top honors and recognition in varied fields, even besting other schools in the municipality.