DepEd pays tribute to the Thomasites

Baguio Teachers’ Camp Centennial Celebration

In recognition of their contribution to Philippine education that led to the birth of
the Baguio Teachers’ Camp (BTC), the Department of Education (DepEd) today
held a “Tribute to the Thomasites”. This is one of the centennial activities of
BTC, which marks 2008 as its 100th year.
The county’s public school system owes much to the Thomasites – young
idealistic American teachers -- who came in waves in 1901 to introduce the
American brand of education to Filipinos emerging from the shadow of centuries
of Spanish colonization.

The event today was highlighted by a reenactment of BTC’s Foundation at the
BTC Grounds with performances from the students of Baguio City National High
School and the Philippine High School for the Arts.
Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said, “The Philippine Education system
especially teacher training owe much to the legacy left by the Thomasites. The
Thomasites were the first US Peace Corps and have forever endeared
themselves to a grateful nation. For example, who can forget the songs ‘Planting
Rice’ and ‘Guavas are Ripe’?”
“More than US politics, Hollywood, or the military occupation, it was the
Thomasites’ missionary zeal which captivated the hearts and minds of Filipinos,”
he added.

DepEd Undersecretary Vilma Labrador, Undersecretary Ramon Bacani and
Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya, who is also the officer-in-charge of BTC,
spearheaded the festivities.

US Ambassador Kristie Kenney gave the keynote address.
Asec. Malaya also unveiled BTC’s centennial memorabilia such as the
commemorative stamp, BTC centennial calendar, and commemorative car
plates. Proceeds from the sale of the memorabilia will be used to help in the
camp’s restoration. The Education Department currently gives the BTC an
annual subsidy of P10 Million for its operation.

In May this year, Secretary Lapus and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita led
the BTC grand centennial celebration kick off with the ceremonial declaration of
BTC as a National Heritage Site. With the theme: “BTC: Celebrating 100 Years
of Educating the Nation, BTC’s centennial went into full swing.

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