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Alma Mater’s Genesis and Forth

Marcus Garvey once quoted that people without the knowledge of their history, origin and
culture is like a tree without roots. It will never grow, it will never be something that can rise to provide
help for others. For that person must first learn how to appreciate the past and give value to their
present in order to bloom and grow without problems.

As a Comprehensian in this day and age, we must learn the untold story of Tagum City National
Comprehensive High School, a school that was once considered as Davao del Norte Provincial High
School and was then changed to Davao Provincial High School before named as Davao National High
School and to its present tag. And, take note, it’s not Capitol High School… It is a school that is
approximately three kilometers from the busy centers of the capital town, lying at the heart of the
provincial government site.

This educational institution’s genesis embarked through the move pioneered by the binding aid
of the government officials under the headship of the former Provincial Governor Gregorio R. Dujali with
the stewardship of the then DepEd Schools Division Superintendent, Mrs. Eulalia B. Basaῆes.

DPHS, the abbreviation of the previous school title, was once hilariously dubbed as “Dala Pirme
Hait Sanggot” (Always bring sharp sickle) because the school was born through the idea of the late
governor to start up a high school within the locale of the sports complex to take of the beautification
and cleanliness of the swampy and grassy area. The people in this foundation have contributed
significantly in the spotlessness and orderliness of the various events held in the Sports Complex which
was then recognized as the Imelda Sports Complex. Therefore, there came the existence of the school
during the momentous date of June 1983.

Upon consent of the projected plan, Mrs. Basaῆes personally screened teachers to be post in
the newly-built school. The seven pioneer educators who first built the foundation of the first batch of
students in School year 1983-1984 and to the following group of learners were the following: Mrs.
Florita J. Vergara, Mrs. Nena M. Oquias, Ms. Rosalinda P. Gado, Mrs. Salvacion P. Mama, Mrs. Meguilita
M. Lubiano, Mr. Isagani Batiao, and Mr. Efren B. Baldonado. In the school year 1984-1985, Mr. Manuel
C. Fuentes was considered as the first Principal who headed the neophyte institute to its development.

However, Mr. Ramon Y. Alba, the Assistant Schools Division Superintendent was the acting
Supervising Principal before Mr. Fuentes came. He let no grits unturned the challenging demands of the
initiated school. He also led out efforts for the growth and progress of the institute in all stages of
education. The significance of its existence was felt forthwith in the community after its operation.

Meanwhile, the number of the scholars in the institution during its first drive in education
reached up to 206 which was comprised by the first and second year students. They occupied the Davao
Sports Complex Gym which is now named after the former Provincial Government Chief, Rodolfo del
Rosario (RDR). Classrooms were in a cubicle form. The paraphernalia used to build the classrooms and
offices were from the generosity of The Aguinaldo Development Corporation and its manager and the
better half of Mrs. Vergara, Mr. Regino Vergara.

Nevertheless, the cubicle forms were not used in a decade term after the late Doῆa Margarita
Magsanoc Aala extended hands and bestowed a 10,000 sq. m. area adjacent to the Sports complex,
exclusively for the school. This became the permanent site of the institution where the mushroom of the
two first buildings with five rooms each were implanted. In addition, the faculties rose up to 21 in the
second year of its performance. While the students’ population continued its growth for it doubled up
subsequently, to the opening of the third and fourth year levels. And then, there begun the first batch of
graduates with only fourteen boys and nineteen girls. Mr. Erwin R. Questo, now a successful engineer
was noted as the ever first Valedictorian in the history of the school.

Thereafter, Mr. Fuentes who had his three fruitful years of administration turned over the
duties in Davao National High School to a full-time principal, Mr. Alexander V. Quiba on July 1, 1987. In
his management, the educators reached to a hundred in populace and there was a dramatic growth in
the number of learners who enrolled in the school which totaled to three thousand. It was the starting
point of the urge to build an annex school to solve the rising problem of the overcrowding in classrooms.
Eventually, Laureta annex was established into realization in 1998 led by the idea of Mr. Quiba.

After the eleven abundant years in service of Mr. Quiba from 1987 up to his retirement on
February 1998, Mr. Teodorico C. Caballero assumed office in August of 1998. Mr. Caballero’s
performance in handling the learning institute reflected in his garnered awards which were the
“Huwarang Tanggapan” and the 2nd place in Region XI’s Most Effective Secondary School Principal.

Then, his effort in improving the physical facilities, and the enhancement of the academic
performance of the students and staff development were effectively put into recognition. Along with
this, in his term, the school was acknowledged in the year of 2005 as the first institution to implement
three curricula in the division of Tagum City. The Special Programs in the Arts and Sports and the
Revitalized Basic Education has turned the students’ talents and skills into application and improvisation
through a “quality education”. That was because of the school’s outmost fulfillment for being
proclaimed as Region XI’s Most Effective Secondary School bringing opportunities like these. Because of
it as well, the boom of the students in excellent performances has resounded already from division up to
nationals and even internationally.

In 2006, by the virtue of Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution, Davao National High School was
renamed as Tagum City National Comprehensive or usually dubbed as “Tagum Compre High”.

Tagum City National Comprehensive High School continues to soar high as it seized big awards
like Hall of Fame in the Search of the Most Effective Secondary School in Region XI for hailing the
regional search in three straight years. The School’s Choir and Rondalla teams also invaded the PICC
after captivating victory in Regional NAMCYA tilt in S.Y. 2005-2006 and the Rondalla group also reached
up internationally to perform in China. It also reaped awards in the strict implementation of R.A. 9003
otherwise known as Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Act implementation and gained a
National Award for winning the Brigada Eskwela Implementation. The school also shows
competitiveness for winning gold medals in the national level of Arnis, Taekwondo and Athletics. In
addition to that, the school has actively participated in GSP Chief Girl Scout Medal Scheme under the
tutelage of Mrs. Brenda Silveria Garcia wherein the exemplary girl scouts were awarded in Malacaῆang
Palace, Manila. While in physical improvement, the then two buildings were already accompanied by
more taller buildings and facilities too in order to accommodate the rising number of the interested
learners.
Henceforth, Mr. Caballero’s accomplishment bore recognitions during the Davao del Norte
Celebration in the year 2006. He was also given the chance to fly to Australia for a study tour sponsored
by the Basic Education Assistance Mindanao from October 25- November 20, 2006.

Countless of success completion were done under the leadership of Mr. Caballero with the ever
most active and cooperative faculties in the school and with the collaborative efforts of the students and
the community. Until the time came when he already waved goodbye to the school to welcome his new
responsibilities in Tagum City National High School. The school then welcomed the supervision of the
first female principal in the person of Mrs. Melquades H. Astorga on July 2, 2009. She was from Jose
Tuazon Junior Memorial High School. In her management, she constantly maintained the outstanding
performance of the school and implemented the government’s thrusts and programs such as the
National Drug Education Program under the coordination of Miss Olivia M. Diuda, The Solid Waste
Management by Mr. Rodello Cartagena, the Yes-O by Mrs. Rosita Cimagala and the Disaster Risk
Reduction Program headed by Mr. Nelson C. Dillera.

During also in her term, We Advocate Time Consciousness and Honesty (W.A.T.C.H.) was
powerfully endorsed by DepEd and was then implanted in the school. Victoriously implemented, the
school earned the third place in the Search for the Best WATCH implementation in regional level by the
leadership of Mrs. Lina Salazar. And eventually, the school was recognized nationally of the same
competition as “Best Implementor of W.A.T.C.H. Program” and garnered the 2nd runner up award.

Meanwhile, the pride and honor of the institute in arts and sports were constantly maintained
in her supervision. The students and their coaches proved Compre’s excellence from Division to National
levels obtaining gold, silver, and bronze Medals.

Just like Mr. Quiba, Mrs. Astorga also initiated the existence of another annex school which was
the Pandapan Extension High School situated in Brgy. Pandapan, Tagum City in the S.Y. 2010-2011 in
order to cater the students far from TCNCHS. Mr. Isagani Batiao and Mr. Dionisio Siglos became the first
educators of the neophyte learning institution.

When she retired in June 2013, Mr. Rodello B. Cartegena, Head Teacher III took her left duties as
the OIC Principal. “Sir Rodel” “Utol” only had his three-month leadship in this school however, he
proved no limits and continued the school shine through his moral support and did many innovations
and accomplishment in the school. He utilized his power and charisma of touching the heart of our
stakeholders, Public Officials and LGU both in the City and Provincial government to give some
donations/materials/in kind needed for the school’s enhancement.

From being an educator to OIC Head of the school, he served for 27 long years but was
thereafter moved to Laureta National High School to become an OIC Principal there. Therefore,
September 27, 2013 became another milestone for TCNCHS when it welcomed the new ruler that would
continue to lift the school’s name and recognition. From La Filipina National High School, Mr. Roger A.
Martinez, MITE took office and embarked numerous achievements with the students, teachers and the
faculties and staffs likewise the previous administrators. From his first day to the present, the school
became more recognized of all the fulfillment maintained by the administration. Just like before, the
students with their coaches continued the legacy of bringing pride and honor to competitions in the
field of academics, Arts and Sports.
Tagum Compre was still also relentless in bringing the name of the school on top like in WATCH
for being proclaimed Champion in the National Level as the Best Implementor last 2015 in the
leadership of Mrs. Elma S. Centillas . The School became a Hall of Fame too in Gulayan sa Paaralan for
being Champion in three consistent years from 2014-2017 in City and Provincial Level. It was through
the leadership of Mrs. Lina Salazar and of the ever-supportive Mr. Roger A. Martinez. And, the school
was also known for being an Eco-Friendly School in the year 2015.

Frequently, the school managed to send students and coaches to national events and as a repay,
they also brought home the bacons particularly from the National Festival of Talents, Palarong
Pambansa, National Quiz Bee Competitions, National Science and Math Competitions and many more.

On the other hand, the school has already mushroomed more buildings to accommodate the
3,592 students. The Senior High Building has already rose up too for the school was a K-12 ready
institution and it has accommodated learners who have the special skills in Arts and Design which
include Music, Dance, Media Arts and Visual Arts; and in Technology Vocational Livelihood which
comprises the Housekeeping, Food and Beverages Services, Beauty Care, Wellness Massage, Front
Office, and Electronic Products Assembly and Services. Meanwhile, another two buildings are still in its
progress of being established.

To this present age, the school has gone through many memories and accomplishments through
the help of the administrators who have had contributed so much in the development of the institution.
However, the previous and the present teachers, alumni and the present batch of learners of the school
weren’t forgotten because everyone were the main reason of its achievements. Because, It is us who are
the products and the “fruit” of the school that was once known to be swampy and grassy. The Alumni
who are also very proud of the progress of their previous foundation institute have never stopped
supporting it specially in every endeavor the school has gone through the ages.

The students and the alumni who were really the reason of the school’s genesis has explained
every lyrics of the School hymn composed by Mr. Cartagena and arranged by Mr. Juanito Garcia, Choir
Adviser. They proved that the school is really known “with great pride and honor” and it can fly like an
eagle in the sky. Because here, everyone who has entered the area and has lived in this area for years,
has carved memories of laughter and various emotions. And with that, they, I mean we repay all the
improvements the school has bestowed on us.

Someday when we return to the place where we experienced the blooming of our youth, we will
constantly be amazed of how it has improved over the time. We will be in awe to find its face greatly
changed and as the school promises that they will continue to grow, it is expected to grow not only in
number but also in cohesion, ideal and effectiveness.

Authors: Genie Belle R. Atacador, Myra Therese Butalid

Contributors: Nelson P. Casiano, Othniel P. Inis, Elma S. Centillas, Lina Salazar and Niῆo Coquilla