By Precious Nicole L. Partosa

Campus life is a trek up the mountain: a memorable test of strength and perseverance. But a struggling student’s life can become too steep to climb—and it is at this point that the community of Antipolo National High School is best geared for support.

With 2.18 hectares of rolling land, ANHS is the city’s largest secondary public school, catering to over 12,000 students from different walks of life. And as its community continues to grow, so do its programs to provide opportunities to its students.

The pandemic had stunted the fruition of promising initiatives that will serve the best interest of students, including one of the school’s inspiring endeavors to support underprivileged students.

Living up to its mission to teach compassion and humanity, the department of Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao (ESP) began the Adopt-a-Student program to provide financial to indigent students.

Aurora P. Leis, one of the pioneers of the program, said eager students deprived of education because of financial constraints who can benefit from the burgeoning philanthropy from constituents sparked the student program.

The pandemic crippled the initiative which lost benefactors. But the department started to scout for sponsors as the country recuperates and the school gradually resumed its face-to-face classes.

“Sinimulan na namin ngayon sa ESP department: nagkaroon kami ng pagpupulong at nagstart na ulit kami ngayon na magbigay, 10 months, 100 a month per teacher, 1,000 per year,” she said.

Currently, there are 14 scholars registered and benefitting from the program.

Aside from financial assistance, the school has other programs for students to have a more comfortable, healthy, and student-friendly learning environment.

Dr. Rommel S. Beltran, principal of ANHS, cited other school programs for the benefit of the students.

The school offers a monthly free haircut to 100 Grade 7 and 8 students from their sponsor, Members Church of God International (MCGI). The MCGI-Bread chose ANHS as one of the beneficiaries of Libreng Gupit project.

One school alumni provided eyeglasses to 10 students because their poor eyesight affected their academic performance.

Many alumni donated through the years to help the high school develop facilities and educational space for future generations.

“Bilang estudyante noon na natulungan rin ng iba’t ibang stakeholders ang pangunahing dahilan kung bakit nais kong makatulong sa makabagong henerasyon ng mga mag-aaral lalo na sa Antipolo National High School na isa sa mga institusyon na humubog sa aking kakayahan. Isa itong paraan upang ibalik ang mabubuting bagay na nagawa ng stakeholders para sa akin,” John Ivan Amper, one of ANHS’ alumnus and donors, said.

Another initiative from the ESP department, Coins for a Cause aims to maximize the value of 25 cents. The program already bore results as last school year, the department was able to provide cellphone load to almost 100 students who were also the beneficiaries of the Brigada Eskwela program, which provided 15 phones for those with communication needs.

The school gave modular students with little to no means of communication, 105 basic cell phones from stakeholders and alumni. Realme PH also sponsored 10 Realme smartphones in 2021. Additionally, 35 smartphones were given to students in 2022.

Maintaining the well-being of the students led to the creation of the feeding program initiative from Hizon Laboratories Inc, with 100 beneficiaries given free food for 100 days to help curb malnutrition.

Of course, when we talk about the Bayanihan spirit, Brigada Eskwela always comes into the conversation. The school harbored the spirit of volunteerism by doing one-week voluntary work to fix campus facilities.

Maximizing the school’s facilities, ANHS started its open high school program to cater to working students, married and single parents, persons with disabilities, and others who could not attend traditional schooling.

Students receive self-learning modules and activity sheets. They attend school once a week and work with eight subjects in total.

The school also seeks to foster a more inclusive learning environment for the students through Gender and Development Unit.

“We see to it that our school is child-friendly. Malaya ang mga bata na pumili ng mga organisasyon na kanilang sasalihan based on their interest,” Beltran said.

At the end of the school year, the school shows appreciation to its stakeholders through Gawad Bantas to give plaques of recognition and to strengthen the relationship between them and the school. Different stories and memories are shared. Different approaches and strategies are implemented. At the end of the day, what matters is not the mouth that speaks—but the strength and the heart of and for the students of Antipolo National High School.