Guiuan, Eastern Samar is located at the Southern tip of the largest island in the Archipelago. As a people, the townfolks devote themselves to fishing for livelihood. The imaginative mind of the inhabitants pierced its way to the shadowy past and find a domain of hard working people living out of the products of the land and the bounty of the sea.
Religious Education, the only form of education introduced by the Spanish Colonizers in the place, was a compulsory requirement. To bring Christian Religion closer to the people and to provide them suitable place for religious ritual, a huge stone walled church was built by voluntary manual labor. Under the direction of the Jesuits, the edifice was molded into an ancient architectural beauty that could withstand centuries of time.
The school was first organized and given recognition in 1904 through the initiative of Msgr. Donato Guimbaolibot with the assistance of Dr. Jose Lugay. It was named “Gloriosa Patriarca San Jose” and was affiliated with Santo Tomas. In 1929, it was changed to Guiuan Academy with Msgr. Donato Guimbaolibot as the Director.
It was on May 1941, upon the invitation of the late Bishop Miguel Acebedo of the Diocese of Catbalogan, the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) took over the administration which was previously run by the Parish Preist, the late Monsignor Donato Guimbaolibot. These Sisters belong to the first Filipino Congregation founded by a Filipina-Chinise mestiza, Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo. The congregation is officially organized as the first Pontifical Congregation for women in the Philippines.
Through the paternal care of the Parish Priest of Guiuan and the generosity of some pious men and women of the town, life was made bearable for the pioneering Sisters. In June 1941, the school admitted students for the Elementary and the Secondary courses (First to Second Year). It was in the same year, August 15, 1941 that the name of the institution was changed to Assumption Academy. By December 1941, the out-break of the World War II shocks, as it did to places within its orbit, the town to its very foundation. Having nothing much in the town on which to live on, the people went to the mountains to find economic comfort from a soil which hitherto had been untouched, hence, classes in all levels were suspended.
After the war, a complete secondary courses was offered. It also started the College courses. But, 1947, the name of the school was changed to Assumption College with the courses of Associate in Arts being offered. The succeeding years led to the granting of the permits to offer Education courses, Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Bachelor of Arts.
The College has been a co-educational institution. However, in 1967, following the wish of Bishop Vicente Reyes, of the Diocese of Borongan, only girls had to be admitted to the High School Department. The priest have to put up High School for boys.
College courses were phased out in 1971-1972 and the operation of the Elementary was temporarily suspended during the school year 1973-1974 due to few enrollees and financial problems. It was finally phased out in 1974-1975. In as much as the school is offering secondary course, the name was changed back to Assumption Academy of Samar.
By the school year 1982-1983, boys were again re-admitted. It is now back to co-educational institution.
The academe celebrated its Golden Jubilee as Assumption School under the Religious of the Virgin Mary in 1991. From that time on unfolds a new challenged for Assumption Academy. On the fiftieth (50th) year providing Catholic Education to the community of Guiuan and the neighboring municipalities, she is called to be more responsive to the times so as to be relevant, creative and productive in her work for the building of God’s kingdom in the here and now.
In 1998, after all the consultations made, the general council under the leadership of Reverend Mother General Ma. Clarita Balleque, RVM decide to grant the request of the Sisters not only for the renovation but for a construction of the new building. The ground breaking was done on December 5, 1978 and on June 11, 1999, the initial ten (10) classrooms were blessed and were made ready for the use of the students starting June 14, 1999. In the second week of July, the second phase of the construction started which has included the administrative offices, library, laboratory, canteen and Sisters’ convent.
For school year, 1999 – 2000 there was a revision in the statement of commitment of the school basing on the Vision Statement of the Congragation, the Mission Statement of the Education Ministry and on the thirteen Ignacian Values. The teachers and students at the beginning of the school year undertook a process of formulating and a process of owning these values. In relation with this, the faculty and staff with the administration agreed to changed the sections with its corresponding values that the students may in a way give flesh to the newly formulated “statement of commitment.” It is well hoped that the academic community will indeed be bringing the torch of Christian Life and Witness in this simple and cohesive community.
On December 28, 1999 the first reunion of the alumni who were Mother Ignacia Club Members was held. This followed by a Jubilee Reunion of all alumni from batch 1950-2000 which was held on December 28, 2000.
On May 23, 2000, the administrative, students services building and the Sisters’ Convent were blessed and ready for use by June 2000. This new edifice of Assumption Academy is one of the jubilee gifts which the institution received so as to improve its quality of education. On this same year, the school was able to purchased 15 new computer units after its contract with the M-SET. Added to these was a new sound system donated by the alumni, and student body organization.
Another remarkable event in the school was its changed of name from Assumption Academy of Samar to St. Mary’s Academy of Guiuan which was successfully and meaningfully done in October 12, 2000.
School year 2001 – 2002, the school was able to purchase a generator because of constant electrical power failure. The computer laboratory was provided with Air condition. The school canteen was renovated in August 2001 to give much space and easy access for the students. The fence and other physical plant improvements are given attention this year. The PTA General Council sponsored the basketball court of the school. As of May 2002, the basketball rings were constructed.
For the school year 2002 – 2003, the school continues to improve its facilities. A new stage was constructed to give venue for programs and presentations wherein student could develop their skills and talents. The flooring of the basketball court was constructed through the partnership of the administration and the PTA 2002 – 2003. It was also proposed that the school will work on for PAASCU Accreditation to upgrade its educational quality and services. Thus, for the school year Committees were formed and they started the Self-Survey. S. Ma. Rufina Guillano, RVM, the Regional Superintendent gave the initial orientation regarding the PAASCU. It is in this school year wherein Batch ’50 repainted and improved their project, the school’s logo.
For the school year 2003 – 2004, the school adapted the Revised Basic Educational Curriculum 2002. Facilities were further improved namely: a new boys’ comfort room and a guidance center were constructed, the science laboratory was made 2 namely: General Science and Physics; Chemistry and Biology. The Computer Room was improved: venetian blinds were installed, 2 air conditioners were provided, 10 addition units were purchased. S. Ma Lourdes Palacio, RVM, our PAASCU consultant, gave an orientation regarding the PAASCU. The administration, faculty and staff were busy preparing the self-survey report. Meeting of different committees were held. The operational tools in all areas were revised and completed namely: Administrative, Faculty, Science Laboratory, HE Laboratory, Computer Laboratory, Library, Guidance, Clinic and registrar. The project of Batch ’77, the student center, is now being constructed. And its latest improvement just last month was the installation of Internet which shall benefit the students in their research work and studies. It will have its full blast by next school year.
For all that has been and for all that will be, may it be for the greater glory and honor of God. We lift our praises to God who has graced us with the richness of His blessing.
Copyright. SMA-Guiuan. All Rights Reserved 2004