To attend classes, high school students in Balanti, a remote barangay in Tarlac City, had to walk many kilometers through dusty unpaved roads and muddy mountain trails.
But this is no longer the case. Thanks to the newly-built Balanti Integrated School, which is close to where they live, getting an education is no longer a physical sacrifice and a hazard to life and limb.
And the Tarlac State University, through its extension program for community development, has helped make Barangay Balanti’s dream of having its own high school come true.
On January 10, in a simple ceremony, the six-classroom BIS building was turned over to school officials.
Charity Soliman-Lacsamana, the school’s benefactor (her family, the Solimans, donated the 1.2- hectare lot on which the building was constructed), thanked TSU for its contribution in the success of the project.
A few years earlier, she wrote the TSU president, Dr. Myrna Q. Mallari, a letter requesting assistance in the development of the facilities in the school, which was then a Day Care Center housed in a dilapidated building.
Dr. Arnel Punla, dean of the College of Technology, visited the school and discovered it lacked educational facilities.
Through TSU, the school obtained eight tables and 32 chairs.
The electrical wiring of the school building was also repaired, and its walls and the stage outside it had a new paint courtesy of the students of the TSU College of Fine Arts and Architecture.
The Department of Education and Senator Bam Aquino made the construction of the six classrooms possible.
In February 2017, Engr. Leonides Tatu and Engr. Randy Policarpio, both from the TSU College of Engineering, were tapped to conduct a field survey for the preparation of the high school’s site development plan.
In addition, the TSU College of Technology and the Electronics and Information Technology Society donated two computer sets each.
Lacsamana said many elementary school graduates of Balanti stopped going to school because the barangay had no high school and the nearest one was many kilometers away.
She said the few students who opted to continue with their high school education would walk long distances or cross rivers to attend school.
Prospects for our students are now brighter with the new Balanti Integrated School, she said.
At present, there are 24 Grade 7 and 24 Grade 8 students enrolled at BIS. [OPAI]