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Personal Narrative: My life at UST-EHS
By Philip M. Lustre Jr.
N.B. This little essay was published in souvenir program of the 2018 UST-EHS General Alumni Homecoming. It took place on Jan. 28, 2018 at the ground floor of the Alumni Center.)

EVERY alumnus of the University of Santo Tomas Education High School (UST-EHS) has his story to tell on how he landed on its hollow ground and completed his high school education there. It is definitely a milestone, or a turning point, in his life.

I must confess I am no exception.

Let me tell my story.

My late mother Cecilia’s cousin, Dr. Abelardo Manalac, was insistent. In one of his visits to our humble abode in Tondo, Manila sometime in April, 1967, my mother’s cousin, whom we fondly called Uncle Larding, made it a point that I should go only to a single school for my high school education. There was no second choice.

Cousins among Capampangans are usually close. Such closeness and fondness extend to their kids. Hence, it was normal for Uncle Larding, who died two years ago, to speak his mind and suggest at a time when my family was scouting for a school for my secondary education.

Uncle Larding had all the reasons in the world to suggest that I should go to UST-EHS. He belonged to Batch 1956. He took his Pre-Med and Medicine courses at UST, making him a true-blooded Thomasian.

I remembered his booming voice of advice reverberating into my ears. Actually, it was more of a command. As an obedient pubescent kid, I took the entrance examinations and passed. In hindsight, which is always 20/20, it was the decision that has prepared me for my adult life. There was absolutely no regret.

Incidentally, the UST-EHS or UST Educ High, is a laboratory school that trains future teachers and, at the same time, provides educational opportunities for poor but deserving students. It should not be mistaken for the much bigger UST High School, or UST-HS, which is a separate institution staffed by regular teachers.

The UST-EHS is staffed by supervising teachers, who are experts in their fields of specialization. It serves as training ground for third and fourth year BS Education students of the UST College of Education.

I was a wide-eyed, clueless, and restless 13-year old lad, when I entered the UST-EHS building, which was then directly in front of the UST Hospital near the near the Gov. Forbes (now A. S. Lacson Avenue) gate. It used to be occupied by the UST Elementary School, which transferred to the newly built Education Building.

The UST-EHS used to have its building at the back of the old UST-HS near the Dapitan gate. An elder alumnus reminisced they used to have their classes in a room, which was near the incinerator.

Great company

The month of June, 1967 came; I was quite excited to start my high school education in a new school. I spent the first few days getting acquainted with the school system and rules and, of course, meeting and knowing my classmates and schoolmates. There were many surprises and realizations.

One thing that I had realized was that I was in a great company. UST-EHS teemed with students, who came from small Catholic parochial schools or the public school system. I had batchmates, who graduated with honors from those schools but chose to settle at UST-EHS because of financial issues. We were all restless and eager to know the world and get our valued education. affordable prom dresses

I vividly remembered how Caridad Sevilla, the grandmotherly principal who was regally dressed in her terno and baro’t saya, welcomed us with open arms. She struck me as gentle and motherly. She was far from the stereotype image of a teacher with a rod. She looked like a Mother Theresa to me.

In 1968, Mrs. Sevilla retired and Gloria Hernandez, a critique teacher in English, replaced her. It became a standard practice for critique teachers to become principals. Mrs. Hernandez introduced changes, which included the adoption of white polo shirt and a pair of black pants. She also led us to the EHS transfer in its current place – the UST Education Building.

The array of critique teachers gave us some scary moments whenever they were around, but they were most committed to train those education students, who graced our classes to impart great learning.

Unsung heroes

The student teachers, who regularly presided over our classes, at UST-EHS could be regarded the unsung heroes in our education as young Christians. As far as I could remember, they were very persistent in imparting the body of knowledge, which every Christian should possess.

Over the next four years, it baffled me no end how those arrays of student teachers kept on providing us the education a hungry intellect craved. There were no dull days. Student teachers came prepared. They knew by heart they were teaching us.

Students hardly saw the critique teachers’ hand whenever those student teachers stood in front of our classes, although we knew their influence was most profound. To the student teachers’ credit, they were quick to perfect their craft.

I finished my high school at UST-EHS with deep appreciation and profound gratitude to the UST, as an institution of learning, and to its officials, critique teachers and student teachers, who showed us all the way what commitment meant. ?