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Pampanga High School Class of 1954

The Four Academic Years (Part II)

The Freshman Year - 1950-51

The Class of 1954 of the famed Pampanga High School in San Fernando City of the Province of Pampanga in the Philippines had its historic beginning in July 1950 when hundreds of elementary school graduates assembled at the school auditorium to take the entrance examination for entering freshmen. It was a momentous event for the school because it was the first time in the history of the institution that an entrance examination to classify the first year students by sections was given. 

The entering freshmen of 1950-51school year were grouped into thirteen (13) sections on the basis of the results of the entrance written test. Hence, sections one and two, as anticipated were composed mostly of elementary school valedictorians, salutatorians and other honor students.

The Section One (I-1) students were under the mentorship of English and Literature teacher Mr. Pablo Pinlac who later became the principal of the school after many years of dedicated service as a member of the faculty and as assistant principal. A few of the other freshmen teachers were Mr. Rafael Aguilar, Mr. Francisco Calica, Mr. Jose Fajardo, Mr. Eulalio Intal, Mr. Maximo Kabiling, Mr. Casimiro Turla, Ms. Mariquita Mendoza, Ms. Teresita Panlilio, Ms. Januaria Tanjutco, Ms. Conchita Tungol and Ms. Annette Valencerina.

The vocational course teachers were Mr. Pedro Malang and Mr. Rivera for Horticulture, Mr. Leonardo Gantioqui for Poultry and Swine, Mr. Manuel Soriano for Electricity, Mr. Gregorio Musngi for Merchandising, Mr. Ernesto Valencia for Carpentry Shop and Mr. Priscillano Quizon for Arts Appreciation. The school principal in 1950 was Mr. Ruperto C. Torres and the school librarian was Ms. Rosario Makabali. 

As expected, the freshman year was highlighted by scholastic competitions. Dalmacio P. Inventor, Cicero J. Punsalan, Armando Tala, Alejandro S. Camiling, Ruth Lumba, Pablo Jimenez, Roberto Lugue, Luz Pagtalunan, Angelina Twano, and other outstanding students figured prominently in the Honor Roll of the school as published in the school newspaper, "The Pampangan".


The Sophomore Year - 1951-52

Except for new subjects and teachers such as Mrs. Pilar del Rosario, Ms. Rosa Custodio, Mr. Clemente Pangan, Mr. Juan Malgapu, Ms. Iluminada Cuyugan, Ms. Iluminada Asban, Ms. Dionisia Patawaran and Ms. Victoria Sawal, the sophomore year in 1951-52 was almost the same as the freshman year. 

The original thirteen sections in the freshman year were reduced into ten during the sophomore year. The ten sophomore sections were re-configured based on the scholastic performance of the students in the freshman year. Students whose grades improved in the freshman year moved to the top sections and vice-versa for other students. 

The honor students in the freshman year were also the same students who dominated the sophomore scholastic competitions including yours truly despite of a conflict and misunderstanding with a new Tagalog course teacher who misjudged an alleged issue and unfairly penalized an inculpable student (yours truly) via the student report card in the last grading period of the sophomore year. The unfortunate incident did not involve parental complaint or involvement on the issue. If it happened during the period of student activism and civil rights awareness, the incident could have not gone away without being noticed.  As a result, it caused a permanent damage to the academic standing of the innocent and hapless student. 

The PHS Class 1954 members were the first batch of sophomores who took up Geometry as an elective subject under Mr. Juan Malgapu and the first class to initiate and organized a central council for the second year sections. For vocational courses, the boys were grouped in accordance with their choices of either Horticulture under Mr. Pedro Malang or Mr. Rivera or Poultry and Swine under Mr. Leonardo Gantioqui or Electricity under Mr. Manuel Soriano, Sr. or Carpentry Shop under Mr. Ernesto Valencia or Art Appreciation under Mr. Priscillano Quizon. The girls took up Home Economics or Merchandising.

In sports, Pamfilo Batac, Orlando David, Ruben Gorospe, Zoilo Gueco, Amor Castro, Ricardo Briones, Pacita Gopez, Narcisa Pineda, Epifania Ramos, Elisa Banag, Lolita Yutuc, Rosario Manalili, Felicidad Angeles, Corazon Canlas and Nadinee David excelled in athletic competitions. 

As an elective subject, Music Education was offered under Mr. Gonzalo Ocampo and the Pampanga High School Symphony Orchestra was organized. From PHS Class 1954, the following joined the orchestra: Teodoro Maniago (violin); Pablo Jimenez (violin); Cicero J. Punsalan (violin); Ramon T. Guiao (violin); Roberto Lugue (violin); Orlando Punsalan (saxophone); Zenaida Marin (violin) and Corazon Navarro (piano).


The Junior Year - 1952-53

Due to student transfers to other schools and student dropouts, the junior class sections were reduced in numbers similar to what happened in the sophomore year. However, one noticeable addition in III-1 was Aurora Sangalang, a transfer student from the Province of La Union where she grew up to adolescence and where her father, Mr. Jose Sangalang was a provincial academic superintendent of the Department of Education prior to his assignment in Pampanga in 1952. For obvious reasons (pretty, friendly, smart and a good sport), she was an instant celebrity who quickly gained a lot of friends from her female classmates and attracted a huge crowd of male admirers, either teasing her or vying for her attention

The junior year in 1953 was more challenging and the scholastic competition was also intense. Under the advisorship of Mr. Leoncio Lising, a Biology teacher and teacher-in-charge of III-1, the Junior Class Organization was organized with Cicero Punsalan as president, Armando Tala, vice president, Pamfilo Batac, secretary; and Ruth Lumba, treasurer. The PHS Class 1954 junior class organization initiated the construction of the first Greenhouse of the school.

The teacher-in-charge of III-1 took upon himself requiring his students to mop the floor of his classroom with used locomotive engine oil from a nearby train depot. Twice a week, two boys from III-1 were assigned to pick up two 5-gallon cans of used oil from the train depot. Some students such as Alejandro Camiling and Eduardo Pabustan missed a few of those errands and paid dearly in their report cards. Apparently, the teacher's seemingly good intention was in actuality an exploitation of authority because he exposed his students including himself with toxic chemicals. 

Some of our academic teachers in 1952-1953 were Ms. Maria Dimalanta, Mr. Erasmo Punsalan, Ms. Angela Sanchez, Mrs. Paciencia Soriano, Mrs. Elena S. Sunga, Mrs. Consuelo H. Tecson  and Mr. Isabelo Vitug.

As prospective successors to the 1953 graduating seniors responsible for editing, publishing and managing the school newspaper, "The Pampangan", competitive examinations among junior students to select assistant editors and reporters were conducted by the school organ adviser, Miss Gervacia K. Guarin. Ruth Lumba was best for Literary; Armando Tala for News; Jose Oliveros for Tagalog; Dalmacio P. Inventor for Spanish; Zenaida Marin for Society; Alejandro S. Camiling for Sports; Roberto Lugue for Vocational; and Cicero J. Punsalan for Military. Pablo Jimenez and AngelinaTwano were appointed as junior reporters.

The junior class in 1953 had a good representation in the different athletic teams that saw action in inter-provincial athletic tournaments in Central Luzon . Pacita Gopez, Narcisa Pineda, Epifania Ramos were the mainstay of the women's softball team. Pamfilo Batac, Amor Castro, Ricardo Briones and Zoilo Gueco were starters of the boys' soccer team while the girl's volleyball team had Rosario Manalili and Lolita Yutuc as first team members.

Gaudencio Gozun, Orlando Guerrero, Elpidio Gutierrez and Prudencio Lacson were first-team members of the basketball squad while Corazon Canlas and Nadinee David were top guns in track and field.

As an annual tradition, the junior class sponsored the Junior-Senior Prom held at the school quadrangle. Music was provided by Iggy de Guzman and his orchestra.


The Senior Year - 1953-54

The Senior Year of PHS Class 1954 was composed of seven sections, which included the following:

Section 1 - Hopes of the Future (IV-1) with Miss Gervacia K. Guarin as Teacher-In-Charge

Section 2 - Defenders of the Motherland (IV-2) with Miss Maura Arce as Teacher-In-Charge

Section 3 - Lights of Tomorrow (IV-3) with Mrs. Pilar B. del Rosario as Teacher-In-Charge

Section 4 - Realists (IV-4) with Mr. Clemente Pangan as Teacher-In-Charge

Section 5 - Lightbringers (IV-5) with Miss Victoria Sawal as Teacher-In-Charge

Section 6 - Liberty Lovers (IV-6) with Mrs. Elena Sunga as Teacher-In-Charge

Section 7 - Wisdom Seekers (IV-7) with Mr. Galo Tecson as Teacher-In-Charge 

Three of the highly recruited new teachers in the school year 1953-1954 were Ms. Lucita Espiritu, Ms. Aurora Sanchez and the bemedalled Track and Field star during her high school days at Pampanga High School, Ms. Alice H. Castillo who earned her Bachelor of Science in Education degree at the University of the Philippines. Ms. Castillo had a dual appointment as an English and Literature Teacher and as a mentor in the Physical Education Department headed by Ms. Teresita Panlilio.

The PHS Class 1954 had a fairly good start with interesting rivalry in student politics and student activism. Student leaders engaged in debates, campaign speeches and presentation of party platforms to gain support from the student population. When the individual elections were held for the various student organizations, Cicero J. Punsalan was elected president of the Student Council, the Dramatic and Oratorical clubs. Dalmacio P. Inventor topped the presidential election of the Cervantino (Spanish) Club, the Horticulture Club and Section One of the Senior Class. Ruth Lumba was chosen to lead the Physical Education Club, the Treasury of the Student Council and of the Cervantino Club and Jose Oliveros was voted president of the Tagalog Club. Armando Tala won the presidency of the 1954 Senior Class Organization. The other elected officers of the senior class organization were Armando Biliwang, Vice President; Pablo M. Jimenez, Secretary; Pacita Gopez, Treasurer, Vladimir Sampang and Alejandro Camiling, Auditors.

For the first time in the history of "The Pampangan", no editor in chief was designated in the 1953-54 school year. Instead, a board of editors was created with three members namely, Armando Tala, Chairman and Dalmacio P. Inventor and Cicero J. Punsalan as members. The section editors were Ruth Lumba, Literary; Jose Oliveros and Rosario Miranda, Tagalog; Josefina Malang, Features; Armando Biliwang, Spanish; Alejandro S. Camiling, Sports; Paulita Bundalian, Faculty and Alumni; Angelina Twano, Society (Clubs and Organizations); Pablo M. Jimenez, Military; Roberto Lugue, Vocational and Isabelita Lugue for Physical Education. The three staff artists were Pacifico Lagman, Manolito Vitug and Orlando David while the staff typists were Teodoro Maniago, Amado B. Lugue, Jr. and Neciforo David. Restituto Vega was assigned as staff photographer. Jesus Mallari was delegated as senior news reporter while Bienvenido Pinpin and Wilfredo Guzman were assigned as Sportswriters. Zenaida Marin was chosen as a columnist.

In the field of preparatory military training, Jose L. Velez was chosen as corps commander while Neciforo David was appointed as the undisputed leader of the Air Scouts unit.

On February 19, 1954, Mr. Bienvenido Licup, the Preparatory Military Training (PMT) commandant inaugurated a Military Pass-In-Review followed by the Sponsors Ball in the evening of the same date at the school auditorium. The PMT officers' sponsors led by Rosario Manalili were the most beautiful young ladies on campus selected individually from the finest Pampangan families in the province.

Midway of the senior year, student activism had its peak when disgruntled IV-1 students led by Alejandro S. Camiling initiated a petition to replace a Tagalog course teacher for IV-1 students. Mr. Jose C. Reyes, the principal at the time conducted an investigation of the accusations and complaints listed in the petition. The principal finally settled the complaints when he designated Mr. Jose S. Simbulan to take over the responsibility of teaching the Tagalog course in IV-1.

Two weeks prior to Graduation Day, the principal invited prominent individuals from various professions to speak before the PHS Class of 1954.  Two of those great speakers were Nueva Viscaya Congressman Leonardo Perez who spoke about Law and Politics and Manila Times correspondent, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. who gave an inspiring speech about journalism and patriotism.

In the real political arena, Pampanga Governor Rafael L. Lazatin was about to finish his first four years as provincial executive while President Ramon Magsaysay, in his second year as Philippine president, was still trying to find effective solutions to the peace and order, insurgency, economic uncertainty, and the graft and corruption problems of the country which he inherited from the past administrations, the latest of which then was the presidency of Elpidio Quirino.

The 39th Commencement Exercises at Pampanga High School were held at 8:00 o'clock in the evening of the 2nd of April 1954. The PHS Class of 1954, which included a total of 363 promising young men and women, received their diplomas in a special ceremony without traditional graduation speeches. Based on the "Commencement Exercises Program" on April 2, 1954 and the Graduation issue of "The Pampangan" on the same date, the total number of graduates included 243 boys and 120 girls which translated to a boys' ratio of more than 2 to 1, meaning that the girls had a bigger matrimonial market than the boys in their class. Despite of this statistic, half a century later, it is still a puzzle why there were girls in PHS Class 1954 who remained single and did not take the advantages of blissful matrimony.

The honor students recommended by a committee of teachers from the junior and senior classes and approved by the school principal, were Dalmacio P. Inventor and Cicero J. Punsalan as class valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. Armando Tala, Angelina Twano, Ruth Lumba, Roberto Lugue and Pedro Joven were named First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Honorable Mention.

Medals and prizes donated by government officials and civic leaders were awarded to the honor students. Congratulatory messages were received from Governor Rafael L. Lazatin and from the Division Superintendent of Public Schools, Mr. Jose C. Aguila. 

As listed individually in the Commencement Issue of the "The Pampangan" on April 2, 1954, the class members were full of hopes, dreams and strong determinations to invent the future. The following is the breakdown of "Ambition" of the members of PHS Class 1954:

Accounting -5; Acting -1; Agriculture-16; Aircraft Mechanic-1; Airline Stewardess - 1; Airman - 1; Architecture - 8; Artist - 2; Banking -1; Building Contractor - 1; Business/Commerce - 45; Certified Public Accountant - 14; Chemical Engineering - 2; Chemistry - 2; Civil Engineering -7; College Professor - 1; Dance Instructor - 1; Dentistry - 3; Diplomat -1; Draftsman -1; Education - 29; Electrical Engineering - 6; Engineering - 7; Flight Nurse - 3; Foreign Service - 1; Hair Science - 1; Home Economics - 2; Journalism - 6; Law - 19; Liberal Arts - 2; Mechanical Engineering - 8; Medical Doctor - 25; Merchant Marine - 1; Midwifery - 6; Military/Soldier - 4; Missionary - 1; Modist - 1; Music - 1; Music Professor -1; Navyman - 13; Nursing - 24; Painting - 1; Pastor - 1; Pharmacy - 9; Photography - 1; Pilot - 11; PMA Cadet - 3; Politician - 1; Priest - 7; Radio Technician - 3; Secretary - 5; Serve Humanity - 8; Signal Officer - 1; Social Worker - 1; Technician - 1; Undecided - 35


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