WHO WOULD have thought that after 75 glorious years, the school which at first held classes in mere quonset huts would eventually become one of the most respected secondary schools in the country?

From a humble area located at the right wing of the Main Building on June 6, 1928, the University of Santo Tomas High School has become an institution centered on Christian values and academic excellence.

Recent graduates value the commitment and integrity instilled by UST High School amid the fast-changing and modern world.

“The UST High School is still the base upon which holistic Thomasian values are formed. It is the cradle where young Thomasians are molded to become future leaders of our globalized country,” said Leonid Nolasco, an alumnus and consistent honor student of the high school’s so-called millennium batch.

Not only is UST High School the educational community for students. For most of its graduates, it is also their second home.

According to its principal, Professor Zenaida Roda, there is something about UST High School which attracts its graduates to come back.

“There is a sense of closeness here. We always call it the high school family,” she said.

Professor Agripina Manapat, who has taught at the school since 1968, agrees. She finds it overwhelming when alumni pay a visit to the school.

“When graduates come back and then they tell us (professors) that without us, wala sila, nakakatuwa talaga,” she said.

Humble beginnings

The school opened in 1928 through the efforts of Rev. Fr. Silvestre Sancho, O.P., dean of the College of Education, and Rev. Fr. Manuel Arellano, O.P., rector of the University during that time.

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Although the school started on June 6, 1928, members of the high school department celebrate their annual Foundation Week during February.

Originally the College of Education’s training ground for its students, the high school became an independent department in 1950.

Professor Roda said that the school’s location varied during its 75-year existence. From the quonset huts, the school transferred to a one-story building, where the UST Central Library is now located. When the building was razed by fire in the mid-70’s, the students temporarily held classes at the UST Central Seminary. In 1976, the school was moved to its present location.

Roda added that during the early stages, the school used to have two sessions for the students—the morning class for the girls and the afternoon class for the boys.

“We shifted gradually. Sinubukan muna namin na (maglagay ng) all-boys and all-girls sections for the morning and afternoon sessions. Although there were boys attending classes in the morning and girls in the afternoon, they still belonged to separate sections. Pero nagkikita pa rin sila (the boys and the girls),” Roda said with a smile.


The adoption of the co-educational policy in 1979 was one of the major milestones in the 75-year history of UST High School. It showed that the school had been constantly open and receptive to change in order to meet the needs of its students.

With a modern environment and technology-prone ways of learning, the school’s administration continues its commitment to come up with innovative methods of teaching.

“Hindi na puwede iyong traditional approach to teaching. Kailangang mag-devise ng new strategies kasi ang mga bata ngayon, in terms of technology, talagang advanced sila,” said Roda. “It has always been like that. We are trying to catch up with the modern times by providing the students with the best technology available. We are preparing these students to cope with life because what they need now are life-skills, more than the classroom lectures.”

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The high school department also remains steadfast in its goal of educating students in the Catholic perspective.

Roda further stressed that strengthening the values and the moral fiber of the students through the values department helps in enforcing discipline.

According to Professor Jose Wendell Capili, associate dean of the College of Arts and Letters in UP Diliman and a former editor of the high school student publication, Aquinian, the student population of UST High School has decreased through the years.

“The ‘de-population’ of the school is helpful in order to ensure quality of education. There are less students now and I think this will allow students to receive quality instruction from their mentors,” he said.

The road to 75

In order to commemorate its diamond anniversary, the administration, together with the parents’ association, alumni and students, has prepared a year-long celebration.

Some of the proposed activities include a general alumni homecoming of priests and nuns and other former officers of the Student Catholic Action, bingo socials, a golf tournament, various exhibits, a cultural night and a grand culminating activity on March 2003.

There are still a lot of plans for the improvement of UST High School. The school is getting ready for accreditation next school year aside from future plans to transform it into a science high school.

The UST High School will forever remain a second home to its “four pillars”—the students, the faculty, the administration, and the parents amid achievements that UST High School has carried through for the past 75 years. But the administration is more proud of one major accomplishment—producing quality graduates and a harvest of distinguished luminaries from various fields.

Kairalang moral


  1. “There are still a lot of plans for the improvement of UST High School”.. Also planning to look at fairness on tuition fee refund when you unilaterally dismiss students?


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