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Historical Background of St. Francis of Assisi School of Silay City Foundation, Inc.

During the early 60’s, the late Mrs. Marieta Losin Ledesma observed that some of the children of the Hacienda Tinihaban 1 workers were not going to school. The problem was that the school nearest the farm was quite far and the children had to cross the highway. She also noted that those who attended public schools were not receiving the proper basic education. As an individual deeply concerned with the welfare of the farm workers, she decided to establish a hacienda school for these children. With the help of Brother Francis Cody, FSC, then president of La Salle College-Bacolod, plans for putting up a hacienda school supervised by the La Salle Brothers were drawn up. The school site was a 1.2-hectare field in Hacienda Tinihaban 1. Funding would come from the Ledesma families of Haciendas Tinihaban 1 and Lonoy, a neighboring farm.

The St. Francis of Assisi School of Silay City opened in 1964. The late Mr. Edgardo O. Ledesma, Sr., owner of Hacienda Tinihaban 1, was its founding president. The school opened with one classroom, 40 Grade One pupils, and one teacher. Its objective was to provide quality Christian education to the children of the workers of Haciendas Tinihaban 1 and Lonoy. The name St. Francis of Assisi was appropriate as he was the patron saint of Bro. Francis Cody. In addition, Mrs. Marita Ledesma’s birthday was October 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.

Thereafter, one grade was added until SFAS completed the elementary level. At that time the children enjoyed free tuition, books, uniforms and school supplies. The Ledesma families of both farms paid all the school expenses. However, the school was exclusively for these children.

 The La Salle Brothers carefully supervised the teachers. The caliber of teaching was such that the SAS students could compete with other private school students in Silay City.

In 1978, the sisters of Sta. Teresita Academy of Silay City took over the supervisory responsibility. The following year, Mrs.Marieta L. Ledesma passed away and with ner passing went the personal attention she gave the school. The Sisters tried their best to maintain the standard achieved by the La Salle Brothers although running a hacienda school was not part of their mission. In 1991, the school was, once more, placed under the supervision of the University of St. La Salle.

SFAS has experienced countless problems over the years of operation, most of which were financial. In 1993, the Lonoy Ledesmas discontinued their financial support. The Tinihaban Ledesmas continued alone. By then, more and more children from neighboring communities were being accepted into the school. It became necessary to charge tuition to defray the operation costs. In spite of these difficulties, SFAS, through God’s grace and blessing and the constant intercession of its patron saint, has survived to become the only original hacienda school. left to carry on the mission set by its late founders.

In June 2006, SFAS was granted recognition by the Department of Education to open high school, from first to fourth year levels.

St. Francis continues to thrive as a Christian educational community with over 700 students, 27 teachers and 13 staff members. Through the help of the Tapulanga Foundation, Inc. free education is provided for all the students coming from Hacienda Tinihaban and some children from Hacienda Lonoy and neighboring farms (which comprise about 60% of the student population). Academic scholarships are provided to chosen non-farm students. And all its activities are designed to help each student attain his/her full potential as a human being and a child of God.

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