HISTORY OF ST. RITA’S COLLEGE OF BALINGASAG
St. Rita’s College of Balingasag is a Filipino, Catholic, co-educational RVM institution founded in 1901 by a Jesuit Missionary, Rev. Fr. Gregorio Parache, SJ, as a parochial school aimed at giving basic education to the children of the St. Rita Parish. Four RVM Sisters: S. Maria Marciana de Leon, RVM, S. Maria Dominga de Jesus, RVM, S. Maria Andrea Alba, RVM and S. Maria Maura Lopez, RVM, sent by Rev. Mother Maria Efigenia Alvarez, RVM, the Superior General of the Congregation, were among the first teachers.
In 1930, Fr. William Corliss, SJ, applied for a permit from the Department of Education to operate an elementary program with the name of the school as St. Rita’s School, in honor of St. Rita of Cascia, the patroness of the parish. It is the first elementary school in Balingasag. In March 1931, a government recognition was obtained. Mr. Alfredo Regalado was the first principal. The RVM Sisters evangelized the pupils and the parishioners with zeal and perseverance.
At the outbreak of World War II from 1941 -1945, the school’s operation was suspended. Upon liberation in 1946, the elementary classes resumed, and the high school classes were re-opened under the supervision of Fr. Clement Risacher, SJ, parish priest (1937-1949), while classroom management was delegated to S. Maria Dolores Vega, RVM, Superior of the RVM Local Community. On April 10, 1949, the High School obtained government recognition. Mr. Vicente Villareal was the first Principal of the integrated Grade School and High School. The first batch of High School graduates was in 1949.
In 1957, the Jesuits left Balingasag and St. Rita Parish was turned over to the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro and the full administration of the school was formally handed on by Rev. Fr. Estanislao Lagutin, SJ, to the RVM Congregation. S. Maria Victoria Bibera, RVM was the local superior of the Balingasag community. The RVM Sisters renovated the school and provided it with the necessary facilities for better educational service. The school was renamed St. Rita’s High School. On July 1, 1963, the elementary classes were temporarily closed due to lack of enrollees and appropriate facilities.
In 1968, S. Maria Mercedes de Jesus, RVM, the Principal-Directress of the school, having felt the need of the high school graduates to pursue college education, applied to the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) the following courses: Bachelor of Science in Commerce, Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and Bachelor of Arts. These were granted government recognition on August 1, 1969. The succeeding courses were granted recognition on June 7, 1976.
It was during this school year that the Administration built an additional school building to accommodate the growing needs of the student population.
In 1995 St. Rita’s High School was renamed St. Rita’s College which eventually became St. Rita’s College of Balingasag, Incorporated, upon registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). New courses, including TESDA accredited courses were then offered.
In the School Year 1995-1996, the Elementary department was re-opened and the old one-storey building became the pupils’ classrooms. The edifice was named Sto. Niño Building, after the second patron of the parish. In the same year another building was constructed to accommodate the college population.
In 1996 two courses were granted government recognition: the Computer Secretarial course on April 1, 1996 and the Bachelor of Elementary Education on September 16, 1996. After it acquired 50 years of legal status and having gained recognition from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the name St. Rita’s College of Balingasag became the official name of the school. A Certificate of Recognition of the New Constitution and By-laws was issued by the same office.
It was during this school year that the High School department was recognized by the Department of Education Region-10 as the Best Implementer of the Drug Education Program of the Philippines. Forty-seven (47) International delegates came to visit during the International Conference of Drug Abuse Prevention on April 27, 1996 and awarded St. Rita’s College of Balingasag as the Most Effective Secondary School in Region 10.
On December 8, 2001, SRCB celebrated its centennial jubilee with the theme: “Loving Gratitude to God the Father Beyond Leaps and Bounds of Educational Challenges” and closed its centennial year celebration (1901-2001) with cultural presentation entitled “SIGLO” participated in by personnel, students, parents and alumni.
With the continuing commitment to quality education and to sustain academic excellence, SRCB Administration initiated the self-survey process in the High School department during the SY 1995-96 leading to the PAASCU preliminary visit on August 11-12, 1997 and the succeeding formal visit in February 28-29, 2000, the result of which was a three-year preliminary status of accreditation. This marks another significant event being the first and only accredited secondary school in Misamis Oriental, adding another milestone to the history of the school. The PAASCU re-survey visit was done in September 29-30, 2008. This visit merited the five-year accredited status granted by PAASCU as Level II Accredited School by the Federation of Accrediting Associations of the Philippines (FAAP). January 26-27, 2015 – resurvey of the high school department by a PAASCU Team of seven members. The result of the resurvey was received on April 24, 2015 with a Level II Re-Accredited Status was given to the High School Program which is valid until April 2020. At present, SRCB Junior High School enjoys the prestige of being the first accredited secondary private school in the province of Misamis Oriental.
In SY 1999-2000, the Elementary course was complete, from Kindergarten to Grade-6. Since then, the Elementary Department population continuously increased, producing pupils who excel in academics who could compete with the graduates of other quality schools.
The changes in the Philippine educational landscape with the Department of Education (DepEd) was initially implemented with the formal offering of the universal Kindergarten program during the School Year 2011-2012. The succeeding changes in every grade level of the K to 12 was gradually implemented until School Year 2016-2017 when Senior High School (SHS) has been fully implemented.
Service is one of the three RVM core values of St. Rita’s College of Balingasag, especially for the poor. This is clearly expressed in the RVM Philosophy of Education and SRCB’s Mission Statement, enfleshed with the adoption of two (2) poor communities in 1996-97, namely Sitio Macario Ladera and Sitio Cala-Cala for development and livelihood programs.
However, with the opening of the RVM Technical Training Program (RVM TTP) in 1999, a ten-month non-formal education program for the out-of-school youth (OSY) of the community funded by the Mother Ignacia Development Foundation, Inc. (MIDFI) to enable them to develop their skills in Automotive, Electronics, Practical Electricity, Welding, Computer Servicing, Housekeeping and Bartending and assures them for employment or entrepreneurial work after the training. With this, the Administration decided to adopt only one community, Sitio Macario Ladera, since Sitio Cala-Cala was already self-sustaining. This community was assigned to the high school department as their adopted area while the college department adopted a sitio in Barangay 6.
Complementary to this program, the Community Extension Services of SRCB in 2004 extended its expertise through different programs such as SRCB Trisikad Livelihood Project, RVM TTP Trainers’ Financial Loan Program, Micro-Entrepreneurs’ Loan Program and Women’s Income Generating Program.
During the Centennial Year 2001, the RVM Congregation granted the construction of the High School building, the Audi-Gym, the RVM Sisters’ Residence and the renovation of the Grade School building. The laying of the cornerstone was done on November 12, 2001. These new edifices were blessed on November 15, 2002 by Most Rev. Jesus B. Tuquib, DD., Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro.
To respond to the needs of the community, SRCB expanded its course offerings. In 2010, three new College courses were opened: Bachelor of Science in Criminology, (BSCrim) Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management (BSHRM) and Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT). These courses drew additional enrollees not only from Balingasag, but also from the neighboring municipalities and cities indicating that the courses are needed in this area.
Additional building was proposed to meet the needs of the growing population. This need was responded to by the RVM Congregation, thus on October 2011 the new four-storey Mother Ignacia Building for the College department was constructed. The cornerstone was laid in October 2012 and the construction started on December 5, 2012. It was blessed on June 17, 2013 by Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J., D.D., Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro. The edifice boosted up the College department’s physical stature, as much as, the Government recognition of the three new courses granted by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) enhanced its Academic status. Recognition of the HRM – June 3, 2013, with Mr. Juan Rodrigo del Villar, MM-BM, as the first Program Head; for BSIT – February 18, 2013, with Mr. Renel Jay Quirit, MIT as the first Program Head; January 2, 2014, with Mrs. Marybelle U. Banuag, MSCRIM, as the first Program Head. These new courses simultaneously graduated their first batch of graduates in March 2014. In the same year, three (3) Two-Year Courses were recognized and offered in June 2014: Associate in Computer Technology (ACT), Associate in Hotel and Restaurant Management (AHRM) and Associate in Office Management (AOM).
The following were noteworthy performance of skills and competencies of this decade:
The SRCB BS Criminology Silent Drill Team won twice as Champion in the Regional Silent Drill Competition held in Iligan City last September 24, 2011 and September 21, 2013.
August 15, 2010-2012 “KUMBIRA” Regional Battle of Chefs held in Cagayan de Oro City, the BS Hotel and Restaurant Management consistently got Gold, Silver, Bronze and Diploma awards in various cooking categories, and in 2013 got the Over-all Second Runner -up.
In 2011- 2013, 100% passing rate of the BS HRM and RVM-TTP Students who took the TESDA National Certification Exams in their respective skills to qualify for employment. Likewise, teachers whose skills are aligned to the K-12 Program took TESDA Examinations with 100% passing rate.
On November 11 – 13, 2019, three research entries among Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) strand students of the Senior High School department qualified for the Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits (RICE) under the Creative Research for High School Category held at Robinson’s Place, Valencia, Bukidnon initiated by the Department of Science and Technology Region 10 thru the Technology Application and Promotion Institute. Among the 176 participating schools in the region, the research entry on “The Efficacy of Waste Fish Scales as a Material in Glue Production” by Arquita, Kristine Marie, Lamdagan, Fil Gabriel, Pagupat, Roma Alexandria, and Tan, Ma. Sophia Isabel placed in the 17th spot while the entries on “Anti – Stress Bread by Abol, Janine Mejay, Jo, Jascinth Ashley, Macalisang, Ian Jure, and Sale, June Alexia and “The Efficacy of Fish Poison Tree (Barringtonia asiatica) as Raw Material for Biodiesel Production” by Abadies, Leonardo, Rabongue, Iaramae, Daamo, Mitchelou, Go, Marriane, and Basadre, Edilberto placed in the 40th and 70th spot respectively.
These researches went through intensive study during the General Chemistry 1 subject under the class of Engr. Denis Dominguez and were submitted to the DOST Region 10 for the qualification test.
The Senior High School (SHS) program was fully implemented during the School Year 2016-2017 and under the ACADEMIC TRACK, the following strands were offered: HUMSS, ABM, GAS and in the TECH.VOC. TRACK with the following strands: Industrial Arts and Home economics. The first batch of 256 Senior High School (SHS) students graduated from the program SY 2017-2018.
During SY 2016-2017 that the school underwent structural renovations; the covered walks were expanded to give a wider space for the pedestrians as they come inside and exit from the school including the side passage of the St. Rita Building going to the School Chapel connecting the school back gate. The school canteen was renovated due to its over-all weakening structural condition and widened the space with canopy in order to provide a safer, bigger space for the students to stay on. Beside the canteen is the BSBA Concession Office which was temporarily put-up as laboratory for the BSBA students. The design of the Assumption Audi Gym during the SY 2017-2018 was enhanced by removing portion of the decorative hollow blocks on the upper portion of the walls on both sides and in front and replaced it with grills so that the ventilation and air circulation inside be improved. The offices beside the Gym near the RVM TTP building were also renovated for the Community Involvement Office (CIP), GPTA Office and SRCB Alumni Office. A canopy was put up at the main gate to provide a shed for the students from heat or rain.
SRCB, starting the School Year 2017-2018 experienced changes in the administrative structure which was adopted from the RVM Education Ministry Commission’s call to restructure its educational institutions and to be piloted in the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to better position for greater efficiency, enhanced quality, improved competitiveness, visibility and clear alignment with the national Higher Education policy. This is in response to the changing educational landscapes and the RVM Education Ministry Commission’s (EMC) desires to form strong linkages among the RVM educational institutions to address complex and challenging demands of the educational reforms and to initiate system-wide change beginning in the five (5) Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) of Northern Mindanao Region. This was accepted by the Northern Mindanao RVM Educational leaders and considered it as ground for optimism on the future of HEIs in the region, hence, SRCB is a member of NM RVM HEI Cluster and the Cluster Head/President is S. Maria Rufina B. Guillano, RVM.
Although SRCB is under a cluster, it functions as an independent entity, subject to administrative and managerial supervision by the Cluster Head/President and shares to a significant extent its educational resources to the cluster members. It follows its own curriculum, faculty and personnel line up, physical and financial structures and administration to strengthen the teaching ministry and mission and to advance its research, community extension services and instructional processes.
The NM RVM HEIs’ Cluster educational alliance and active partnership are being sustained and developed specifically in relation to the RVM Philosophy of Education, RVM Education Ministry and Institutional Vision, Mission, Key Directions, RVM Graduate Attributes and Institutional Program and Course learning outcomes. SRCB and the the rest of the cluster members hope to have greater cluster-level coherence, coordination and collaboration to meet future demands and ensure quality provision to cope with global competition, closer communion among cluster member schools, cost effective and focused training to faculty and personnel in relevant areas especially in strengthening research and publications, enabling useful relations with the industry, financial and funding agencies, and shared provision of possible common time table, calendar and program development for faculty, personnel, students, research and physical structure development towards sustainable coalition.
The SRCB Higher education Department’s five programs during SY 2017-2018 were revised according to the requirements of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the new General Education Curriculum. In the same year, the Senior High School (SHS) was given the permission by the Board to offer additional Strand which is the STEM due to the requests of the parents and students. The TECH. VOC.TRACK was shelved since there are no takers.
During the school year 2017-2018, other physical plant renovations were being done: tiling and restructuring of the AVR, renovations of the RVM TTP building and putting of pavers on the ground to solve the flooding of the area, kiosks for the students to stay on during break time, cemented stand for the automotive vehicle with canopy, Grills were installed at the St. Rita building from the 2nd to the 4th floor for safety measures and two new Bladder tanks both at the school canteen and the college building were installed to improved water services.
The RVM Quality Road Map was re-launched in SY 20018-2019, quality policy was articulated and key persons were appointed to compose the Institutional Quality Policy Team that will supervise and monitor the work expected in the RVM-QRM. The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) Philippine Catholic Schools Standards (PCSS) was also introduced; series of conferences were done monthly on the eight (8) defining characteristics of a Catholic School and was formally launched on August 15, 2019. Series of conferences were given to the SRCB personnel and students to involve them in making the PCSS standards alive and be lived out in the academic community as a Catholic Religious institution. The Higher Education Department (HED) prepared for the preliminary PAASCU survey for the two programs (Education and BSBA) scheduled on January 13 and 14, 2020.
It was also during this school year that the request of the Administration to construct a proposed four (4) storey building for the elementary and senior high school students to cater for their learning requirement in order to meet the challenges of development and attain competitiveness locally and globally was approved by the RVM General Council. Ground breaking was done last September 10, 2019, and since the dilapidated elementary building was demolished to give way to the new structure, they are housed temporarily at the school gym. The BSBA laboratory will also be part of this edifice.
St. Rita’s College of Balingasag stands steadfast as a pioneer school and the only Catholic Institution in the town of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental; perseveringly continues its mission of participating in the evangelizing mission of the Church by its commitment to integral Christian formation towards the intended transformative Ignacian Marian education which encompasses inclusive education that promotes and respects diversity in all aspects of life.
SRCB gets her inspiration from the charism and spirituality of Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, the Founder of the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM), the first Filipino Religious Congregation of women in the Philippines.