History of St. Mary's College of Labason, Inc.
St. Mary’s College of Labason, Inc. was founded in 1947 by Rev. Fr. Pio Saavedra. The school’s first name was Ferrer High School. In 1996 its name was changed to Ferrer College. In the year 2000 it was renamed St. Mary’s Academy and in 2006 was renamed St. Mary’s College of Labason, Inc.
The school started with 124 students (boys and girls) from first year to third year high school who belong to different faith or religious denominations and their classes were held at the house owned by Mr. Rufino Cabading, Sr.
In 1950, a nipa and bamboo school building was constructed on the spot where the basketball court is now located. The classrooms were not enough so some classes were held in the residence of Mr. Daniel Galea across the street.
In 1960, Archbishop Luis del Rosario, S. J. of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga invited the Congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) to manage the school. The first five RVM Sisters sent by the Congregation were: S. Ma. Narcisa Bandivas, S. Flora Nini, S. Ma. Christina Kho, S. Ma. Isidra Santiagudo and S. Ma. Obdulla Gabriel who was appointed Directress/Principal until 1963. They resided at the house of the family of S. Ma. Christina Kho. After a while they transferred to the house of Mr. Guillermo Codilla and later moved to the house of Mr. Ramon Alpuerto.
In 1961, the Sisters transferred to a makeshift building of nipa and wood, which served as the Sisters’ convent.
The Congregation through the leadership of S. Ma. Narcisa Bandivas, S. Ma. Christina Kho and S. Ma. Antonia Saldariega acquired a 2-hectare lot and in 1965 a semi-concrete school building with provisions for eight classrooms, offices, laboratory, library, faculty room and a Sisters’ convent was constructed.
The school incessantly responded to the call for Catholic Education through the leadership of various RVM superiors and administrators who made the school abreast with educational developments from 1965 until the early 1990’s despite challenges like strong earthquake in 1977 that damaged the school building and the rebel incursion in the middle of 1970’s. Between school year 1978 until early 1980’s the enrolment was increasing, thus, some classes were held at the Church and the Sisters’ convent.
School Administrators from 1965 – 1993
S. Ma. Antonia Saldariega, RVM Directress/Principal 1963-1967
S. Ma. Winefreda Asok, RVM Directress/Principal 1967-1973
S. Ma. Delfina Jamarillo, RVM Directress/Principal 1973-1975
S. Ma. Antonia Saldariega, RVM Directress/Principal 1975-1977
S. Ma. Rufina Guillano, RVM Directress/Principal 1977-1979
S. Ma. Magdalena Leocadio, RVM Directress/Principal 1979-1980
S. Ma. Athanasia Daga, RVM Directress/Principal 1980-1983
S. Ma. Celsa Gorres, RVM Directress/Principal 1983-1985
S. Ma Natividad Gabuya, RVM Directress/Principal 1985-1987
S. Ma. Caridad Monleon, RVM Directress/Principal 1987-1993
Towards the end of school year 1992 – 1993, the opening of the Kindergarten was initiated by S. Maria Caridad Monleon. The following school year 1993 – 1994, S. Ma. Victoria Salceda became the Directress/Principal and the kindergarten was officially opened with thirty-two (32) children enrolled.
S. Ma. Victoria Salceda, RVM looked for foundations to fund a building construction. In school year 1994 – 1995 the Mother Ignacia Development Center which currently utilized as the Sisters’ convent was constructed and funded by MANOS UNIDAS Foundation. The kindergarten was temporarily closed while the construction was going on to avoid hazards on the part of the children.
In school year 1995 – 1996, the Kindergarten class was re-opened, and they occupied the newly constructed building. S. Ma. Julia Par, who was assigned as farm administrator put up a Wild Life Park at the back of the building.
In school 1996 – 1997 enrollment in the High School level began to decrease due to the opening of nearby public high schools and other socio-economic factors. The administration through the leadership of S. Ma. Victoria Salceda, after considering the clamor of the people particularly the parents opened the tertiary level. The Security and Exchange Commission approved the proposed change of the name of the school from Ferrer High School to Ferrer College in October 22, 1996.
In school year 1997 – 1998 S. Ma. Veronica Maldo, RVM became the Directress/Principal and Mrs. Adronica R. Ellima was appointed by the Board of Trustees as the College Coordinator. The tertiary level was granted temporary permit by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). The course offered was Associate in Computer Secretarial with sixty-one (61) enrollees.
S. Ma. Lourdes Darilag, RVM assumed the school leadership in school year 1998 – 1999. In March 18, 1999 the first graduates of the tertiary level were twenty (20) students who obtained Associates in Computer Secretarial.
In school year 1999 – 2001, the new Directress/principal in the person of S. Ma. Stella Suico, RVM, together with S. Ma. Eloisa Araneta, RVM Superior/Econome of the RVM community and Finance Officer of the School and S. Ma. Helen del Valle, RVM the CL/MIC Coordinator, led the operation of the school.
By this time many alumni of the school were rendering public service like teaching, working in both private and public offices, being elected as public officials in the municipal government. There are Thirteen (13) alumni priests and several religious sisters in different Congregations, deacons and seminarians.
School facilities like latest model of computers were purchased and varied activities to further students’ development were initiated.
In school year 2000 – 2001 the kindergarten was closed but the Associate of Computer Secretarial Course was granted government recognition.
On May 11, 2000, Ferrer College was renamed to St. Mary's Academy.
In school year 2001 – 2004, S. Ma. Severiana Jocelyn Jerusalem, RVM was assigned as Directress/Principal. Continued updating of school facilities was done to respond to the needs of the clienteles. The construction of the new four-storey building started in 2001 and was blessed and occupied in November 9, 2002.
In school year 2003 – 2004 the following tertiary courses were opened: Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT), Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEED), and Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSED). However, the Computer Secretarial Course was replaced by Associate in Computer Technology (ACT). The provision of Republic Act (RA) No. 7722, otherwise known as the “Higher Education Act of 1994” granted temporary permits to St. Mary's Academy to open and conduct the three courses.
In the year 2004 – 2005 the school was blessed with a good number of enrollees. The on-going operation of the college made the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) advised that the school be renamed into a college. The Administration led S. Ma. Fe Saluta, RVM applied for the change of name to the Security and Exchange Commission and after its approval St. Mary's Academy was renamed to St. Mary's College of Labason, Inc. in 2006.
In school year, 2006 – 2007, S. Ma. Evangeline Dorol, RVM was assigned as Directress/Principal.
From school year 2007 – 2011, S. Ma. Virginia C. Omadlao, RVM was assigned as Directress/Principal. She spearheaded the improvement of school facilities including the installation of internet connection and the opening of TESDA short term courses. Adronica Ellima, Ed.D was appointed Dean of College by the Board of Trustees. The Grade one level was opened and served as laboratory of the Teacher Education program in the college. There was an attempt to start the PAASCU self-survey in the high school department in school year 2007 – 2008.
In school year 2010 – 2011, Adronica Ellima, Ed.D retired from office. S. Ma. Virginia C. Omadlao, RVM assumed the deanship. The Grade School level was closed as mandated by the RVM Education Ministry. The school canteen was constructed.
When S. Ma. Josefa Campus became the directress in 2011 – 2012, she led the renovation of the offices.
The fourth year level of the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Major in Marketing Management was given government recognition in 2011.
In school year 2012 – 2013 with S. Maria Asteria Emadin, RVM, as Directress/Principal, the Science Laboratory, Computer Laboratory and the Basketball Court were renovated. Furthermore, the housekeeping and bartending laboratories were enhanced and became assessment centers. The following school year 2013 – 2014, the cafeteria and the school gate were constructed and the college building was renovated.
In 2014 – 2015, S. Ma. Lilibeth E. Monteclaro, RVM was assigned as Directress while S. Ma. Asteria L. Emadin, RVM was designated as Superior/Principal. Additional holdings in the Library were purchased, bulletin boards in the different offices and clubs were installed, internet facilities and equipment in the laboratories were updated. More in-service trainings were afforded to the faculty and staff on their field of specialization.
In school year 2015 – 2016, S. Maria Asteria L. Emadin, RVM was designated again as Directress/Principal. The school became an Accredited Assessment Center of TESDA Programs and was permitted to offer Senior High School the following school year. The school’s facilities were upgraded and improved with the installation of the CCTV cameras all over the campus, additional air-conditioned units for the offices, and intercom connection. The first moving up ceremony for the Junior High School completers at the end of the school year was done at the school ground.
S. Maria Leonora P. Espallardo, RVM was assigned as Directress/Principal in SY 2016 – 2017. On this first year of the K to 12 Curriculum implementation in the Philippine Education, the school offered the Academic Track – ABM, STEM & HUMSS. Continued updating and upgrading of school facilities and instructional materials was done. Twenty-one (21) updated computer units were added at the high school Computer Laboratory, Science Laboratory was restructured, benches were provided at the school ground and the construction of the school fence was completed. Human Development was looked into. Scholarship opportunities were offered to personnel who pursue Graduate School studies.
In school year 2017 – 2018, the Clustering of the five RVM Colleges in Northern Mindanao Region was officially implemented. S. Maria Rufina Guillano, RVM, the President of Lourdes College is appointed President of the five schools including St. Mary’s College of Labason, Inc. S. Maria Leonora Espallardo, RVM was designated as Vice President for Administrative Services/Principal and Christian Formation Coordinator and Adronica Ellima, Ed.D was appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs.
The town of Labason was flooded due to Typhoon Vinta on December 21, 2017. Computers and other equipment in the offices including documents were destroyed and were subsequently replaced. Towards the end of the school year, drainage canal was constructed at the ground of the Sister’s convent to facilitate the flow of water from the school ground going to the big canal outside the school during rainy days and at the end of the school year electrical wirings were checked and the school building was repaired and repainted.
The first graduates of the Senior High School (Grade 12) were 97 students.
In school year 2018 – 2019, the school implemented the New Higher Education Curriculum mandated by the Commission on Higher Education. The enrolment for first year college was favorable. The school policy on admission, retention and screening of students under the Teacher Education Program was strengthened. The development of human resources and facilities are of great priority. The Housekeeping, Bartending and Food and Beverages and Kitchen Laboratories were restructured to improve facilities and enhance instruction. Additional ten (10) computer units were purchased for the Computer Laboratory.
The school continually provides opportunities for the integral human development of learners by providing quality and affordable education. There are already graduates who are serving in the different sectors of the society – in education, business and different industries, government services and other related work opportunities in the country and even in other countries. The school is always committed to Transformative Ignacian Marian Education towards transformation of the society.