When green turns to gold: LSGH celebrates 50th year

When green turns to gold:
La Salle Green Hills celebrates 50th year
By DEDETTE SISON-SANTIAGO, Contributor
June 4, 2009
Manila Bulletin

The green fellows of La Salle Green Hills (LSGH) are now gearing up for their jubilee year on June 8, 2009.

The countdown started more than a year ago with months of planning, hard work and brainstorming for projects, as spearheaded by Br. Felipe C. Belleza Jr., FSC, president of LSGH and head of the Golden Jubilee committee.

In the beggining…

The mission and vision of LSGH remain anchored on its founder’s vision of allowing children to achieve their full potentials through Christian education. The founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, was born of wealthy parents but his stature did not deter him from pursuing his dream of establishing schools for poor boys.

Moved by pity for the barely literate, John Baptist de La Salle gave up his home and his wealth and established in France the Fratres Scholarum Christianarum (FSC) or Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a religious congregation whose purpose was to provide Christian education to children, especially the artisans and the poor.

LSGH traces its beginnings in March 1911 when nine FSC brothers, upon the request of then Manila Archbishop Jeremiah James Harty, arrived and formed the De La Salle College now known as De La Salle University. In the early 1950s, the then De La Salle Novitiate in Baguio was relocated to a six-hectare land on Ortigas Avenue, Mandaluyong City acquired by the Brothers of the De La Salle College-Manila led by Br. H. Gabriel Cannon, FSC.

The move also answered the pressing need to accept new admissions to the grade school department on Taft Avenue in Manila which opened with 178 boys in July 1959, with Br. Alphonsus Bloemen, FSC, as its first Brother-director. Four years later, the high school department was established.

One La Salle

The Lasallian family continues in its mission to make Lasallian education more accessible to many. Yet, many continue to struggle to meet the rising costs of education.

To concretize the dream of sustaining scholars in the Lasallian schools all over the country, the One La Salle scholarship fund campaign was established. By year 2011 when La Salle marks its centennial year in the Philippines, the De La Salle Brothers hope to have raised P1billion, increased the number of scholars to 18,000, and continued in its mission of providing quality education for the poor, just as its founder envisioned it 300 years ago.

In a bid to help to raise funds for One La Salle, several activities have been organized. Among them:

• A festival of art. The surrealistic landscapes of internationally-renowned artist and Presidential Medal of Merit awardee Juvenal Sansó, and the feminist works of Lydia Velasco are some of the artworks recently featured in an art-sale exhibit titled “Green Light: A Lasallian Festival of Art’’ staged at the White Cube Gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, and at the Podium.

Green Light also featured a selection of artworks by National Artist Ramon Orlina, painter Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, and Paete native Dominic Rubio, among others.

The exhibit and art sale also provided the venue to present the varied talents of the Lasallian community in art. Pearl Ortega, consultant from the Development Office of LSGH shares: “We also hope to add an educational component to this endeavor by bringing the exhibit to the different La Salle schools in Manila and make the young audience aware of the relevance of arts in our time.”

• ‘Salamat mga teachers.’ Such is the heartwarming message of a La Salle alumnus to his former teachers who helped mold his Lasallian spirit. Famous coin magician and seasoned performer Rannie Raymundo collaborated with fellow green archer Macky Maceda in producing this song in an album called the Berde Album.

The album, Maceda says, was conceptualized to unify the Lasallian community through music and assist in raising funds for the One La Salle Scholarship Fund. Launched last December by the LSGH Elementary Parents’ Auxiliary, the album also carries songs reminiscent of an Archer’s life in and out of the campus.

Among the songs in the album are: “Sarap Maging Berde,’’ a song that voices one’s pride of being a Green Archer; “Keep It Green’’ speaks of environmental awareness; ‘’Tambayan,’’ reminisces the old hangouts near LSGH; “Little Archer,’’ a special number with the grade school Mungggawit; and ‘’Singkwenta Ka Na,’’ a composition that pays tribute to the school’s 50th year.

• The Singkwenta Concert Series. LSGH, in cooperation with Yamaha, staged a series of concerts entitled Singkwenta, The Concert Series. A host of Lasallian artists including Ogie Alcasid, Dingdong Avanzado, Rannie Raymundo, the Tux and many others took to the stage and brought the audience down memory lane through their stories and music.

Singwenta, held at the Br. Rafael Donato, FSC Center for the Performing Arts every other Tuesday, started in September 2008. “This will help us share the gift of Lasallian education to deserving students, give them a voice in our academic community and open them up to a richer dialogue with others all over the country,” Emmanuel Calanog, LSGH Development Office director and organizer of the concerts says.

• Gary V comes home. Gary Valenciano of LSGH Batch 82, promises another high energy gig when he goes back to his beloved alma mater for a two-night concert today, June 5, and on Monday, June 8.

Titled “Back Home,” the concert is the highlight and culminating event of Singkwenta, the Concert Series.

“It’s good to be back in my old high school. LSGH isn’t just a part of my education, it is a part of my life” says Mr. Pure Energy. “Coming back to LSGH to perform on the stage that started it all is one thing I am truly looking forward to. It’s home for me and it’s another way of giving back to the community that has supported me tremendously.’’

Gary V’s children Paolo (a DLSU graduate), Gabriel (LSGH Batch 2005), and Kiana (incoming senior at La Salle Antipolo) will keep in sync onstage as Mon Faustino, another LSGH alumnus, leads Powerplay in providing the back-up music.

The concerts will benefit the Bahay Pag-asa and the One La Salle Scholarship Foundation.