Roosevelt College; the Right School for the Right Start

Manila Bulletin, January 26, 2006 | Go to article overview

Roosevelt College; the Right School for the Right Start


Roosevelt College was born in 1945 as Roosevelt Memorial High School along the busy J.P. Rizal Street in Barrio San Roque, Marikina, then a part of Rizal province. Popular education was limited to the "Katon Kristiyano" and to the primary and elementary grades available in a few barrio schools. A few affluent families would easily send their children to high school and college in Manila while those who have less would take trips to and from Rizal High School. Mayor Wenceslao C. dela Paz, pre-war town executive of the late 20as foresaw that the town will not remain agricultural for long. It was his obsession to let the young go beyond grade school and learn something more than shoemaking and farming. He mustered his own family resources and established in 1933 a secondary school he called Marikina Academy.

Roosevelt College is located at J.P. Rizal St. Lamuan, Marikina City. Their central office is located at Sumulong Highway, Cainta, Rizal.HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

During the first year of operations, 23 students enrolled, all children of shoemakers. The following year, enrollment increased to 54. The first graduation exercises took place in 1936 with 10 "pioneer" graduates. In an examination given by the government for recognition purposes that year, the Marikina Academy placed 19th among the 70 private schools all over the country. By 1941, enrolment swelled to 272.

The school was closed on December 8, 1941 when World War II broke out. The Marikina Academy ceased operations after the death of its founder.

Meanwhile, a group of prominent citizens and educators, anticipating the enormous task of postwar reconstruction and rehabilitation moved to revive the Academy and invited all concerned to join them in the noble effort. So, in 1945, a corporation was organized to operate a Secondary School in the same, old hacienda house and the school was named Roosevelt Memorial High School in honor of the late wartime US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Engr. Deogracias F. dela Paz, one of the incorporators was elected first President of the Board of Trustees, a position he held for 33 years. The school became the rallying point of almost all elementary graduates of the public schools in Marikina, San Mateo, and Montalban.

The increased demand inspired the school to branch out in the peripheral areas of Marikina. The branches opened were: San Juan in 1946, Cubao in 1948, San Mateo in 1949, Murphy in 1951, Quirino District in 1953, and Montalban (now Rodriguez) in 1962.

Collegiate courses were offered in 1962 and the school was renamed Roosevelt College. The opening of the elementary school in 1964 made the school a three-level academic institution.

In 1965, another branch was opened in Marikina, and later, in 1974, the original school in Marikina was transferred to Cainta. College courses in Cainta were opened in 1976, starting with Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Nursing. The Graduate Schoolas Agro-Forestry Extension program soon followed.

The decade of the 90s was greeted by bold steps taken by the Board of Trustees. The Roosevelt College Foundation Center for Teacher Education was established with a substantial amount as initial outlay with no return in investment expected except for the chance to hire teacher education graduates who are highly trained and qualified for the job.

The College Division responded to the countryas demand for manpower in the technical level by opening two-year course in Information Technology. Meanwhile, training for the professions was maintained at competitive levels by upgrading the engineering curricula and facilities to conform to the Technical Panel for Engineering and Architecture Education (TPEAE) standards.

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