Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Miriam College Breaks New Ground in Nuvali

Miriam College celebrates it's 85th anniversary this year and, consistent with its theme of "expanding horizons, creating impact," the school marks a new chapter in its rich history with the soft launch of its second campus in NUVALI.

Set to accept students by 2014, the new school will be built on a 15-hectare property in the fast-growing Laguna community. There will rise a co-educational campus aimed to provide its unique brand of holistic, values-infused, quality education to a larger and more diverse sector of Philippine society. "It will be an inclusive campus. We will have young boys and girls to educate, just like the first schools our Maryknoll sisters established in Malabon, Lucena, Lipa, Baguio, and Davao," revealed Miriam College President Dr. Rosario O. Lapus.

"Miriam College-NUVALI is envisioned to be a different expression of the same Miriam College vision and mission, with the same academic standards as our Quezon City campus," shared Dr. Lapus. "We recognize that we need not be limited to the existing model, but rather, now have an opportunity to innovate and introduce new ones. With our strong social development experience, we can now impact upon more communities in the common thrust toward national development."

Some of my blogger friends and I witnessed the Groundbreaking Ceremony yesterday which was well-attended by school staff, parents, students, and other visitors as well as graced by no other than Mr. Fernando Zobel de Ayala

It was touching to hear the messages written by the students which they dropped down a tube that will serve as a time capsule. One of them even expressed her wish to share with future students her love of Katy Perry songs. It's nice to imagine how, indeed, would kids in the future react when they read messages that are meant for them but were written many years ago. 

Another symbolic gesture made yesterday morning was the releasing of 85 pigeons to signify the school's 85 years. The view was awesome as we watched the birds soar high up to the clear blue skies. 

The establishment of Miriam College-NUVALI was said to be the result of a rigorous process of research, consultation, and careful deliberation involving the whole Miriam College community which started as early as 2006. After doing comprehensive studies, focus group discussions, and consultations with various sectors and the potential market, it was determined that there is a demand for a Miriam College education and that putting up a second campus in Laguna is feasible and sustainable.

Many locations were considered before Ayala Land's NUVALI project was chosen for its proximity to the Quezon City campus; the area's rapid economic growth; and, more importantly, the consistent values and philosophy it shares with Miriam College on aspects such as sustainability, community development, and environmental advocacy.

NUVALI and Miriam College's shared values and philosophy is believed to be an empowering partnership that can impact communities in the area for the better. "We can be partners in imparting the philosophy of balance, nurturing young minds, and teaching the importance of community and environment through Miriam College's excellent academic programs infused with Christian values," said Mr. Aniceto V. Bisnar Jr., NUVALI's General Manager. "Each complements the other by believing that the 'integrity of creation', which is one of Miriam College's core values, is the key to this partnership."

In the second campus, Miriam College plans to introduce new and innovative programs that combine real and virtual learning tools. To benefit the community are social programs that include the Miriam Adult Education (MAE), a night school for out-of-school youth and advocacies in the areas of peace, women, environment, teacher-training and community involvement. 

"With the help of MAE, members of the community will be able to learn basic life-skills, technical knowledge, and values to help them improve their lives and, eventually, their school status," described Mr. John Estacio, NUVALI's Operations Manager. "Similarly, NUVALI has its own livelihood and training programs [to provide] opportunities to hundreds of people from the communities." Some of the products being used and promoted by NUVALI include special paving blocks, hollow blocks, baskets, and bags using recycled paper.

Miriam College-NUVALI is covered by a 10-year development plan starting with the Basic Education: pre-school, grade school (Grades 1-2) and high school (1st-2nd year). The Higher Education unit will begin on the 5th year (2019). Construction will be in phases with special emphasis on an environmentally-sustainable school that is, at the same time, safe, student-friendly, and conducive to living and learning. A 50-50 percentage will be divided equally to structures and open spaces; building designs will adapt to the existing terrain, climate, and environment; and sustainable energy sources will be utilized.

Miriam College is described to draw inspiration from the pioneering spirit of its Maryknoll founders, who established the school in 1926, as it explores new horizons on its 85th year. "We remain rooted in the legacy our founders have left as we break new grounds and face new challenges in our mission to form leaders in service for the 21st century," pronounced Dr. Lapus. "We believe that education is the single most powerful force for a better world. So this is our choice. Here we are at NUVALI, fully committed to the improved of education and life in this new community."

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