by John Perez
On June 16, 1911, the first La Salle school in the Philippines opened its doors in Paco, Manila led by the nine brothers from Europe and the United States.
The story to open the first La Salle school wasn’t easy for the De La Salle Brothers to begin with; it went through hardships and trials making the La Salle schools in the Philippines what it is today.
The story began in 1901, three years after Spain conceded power to the United States. Education during that time was complicated to the Filipinos. Set by the Americans, English became the medium of education.
However, the Catholic institution continued using Spanish as its medium; this gave a concern that Catholic students would be left behind, in pursuit of becoming leaders under American rule.
During that time, the De La Salle Brothers had established over 35 La Salle schools globally including one from the United States. As such the American Archbishop of Manila, Jeremiah Harty, had hesitated the Brothers to set up a Catholic school in the Philippines. The De La Salle Brothers accepted the offer of Harty as they conceded that “upper-class children also needed good moral and spiritual training.”
After the Brothers established the first La Salle school, which was first called De La Salle College (DLSC), it went through a lot of changes throughout the years.
It was first opened for primary and secondary education exclusively for boys, however due to the increasing number of students and the introduction of DLSC (currently known as De La Salle University) to higher education; the Brothers decided to create more La Salle schools in Manila.
La Salle Green Hills (LSGH) was established in June 1959 led by Br. Alphonsus Bloemen FSC. Five years after the school was founded, LSGH opened its door for High School students to give more slots for the incoming high school students from DLSC.
Br. Dominic Aquinas FSC, who was the Grade School Principal at that time, was appointed to be the principal of High School students also.
For 109 years since the first La Salle school opened its doors, there are now over 16 La Salle schools nationwide.
The mission to provide quality education and to mold the youth to be the next leaders of the country, still continues; more and more Filipinos become Lasallians—a living proof of St. La Salle to be the change they want to be.