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NOHS marks 120th founding anniversary

The façade of Negros Occidental High School in Bacolod City*

Considered as the oldest institution in the highly-urbanized city of Bacolod and in the province, Negros Occidental High School (NOHS) kicked off its year-long 120th Foundation Celebration yesterday.

First known as Instituto Rizal, NOHS started opening its doors to students on July 1, 1902 with 125 enrollees and three American teachers.

Instituto Rizal began its classes using two rented spacious buildings for classrooms and dormitories for the boys and girls who reside outside of Bacolod.

Like in the United States, the dormitories were considered part of the school system itself, in order to ensure that the students out-of-town were also accommodated.

Ray Howell, a Thomasite, was hired as the first high school principal but the school was only short-lived as it was temporarily closed from September 7 to November 10, 1902 because of a cholera outbreak.

Instituto Rizal resumed classes in July 1903, with an increased enrollment of 166 students and four teachers.

In all communications, the school was often referred to as the provincial high school, probably because it was supported by the provincial government under Act 372, S-1901.

The Bureau of Education also officially adopted “provincial high school” to indicate that Instituto Rizal was government-owned, as commonly known or used reports of the provincial government indicated.

In 1905, official education reports that were written in English changed the name Instituto Rizal to Rizal Institute and starting January 1, 1913, the school authorities officially adopted the name Rizal Institute.

When the construction of the buildings at its present location was done in 1931, the school was renamed “Bacolod High School” although it was later changed to Negros Occidental High School.

In recent years, the most notable endeavor the school has entered into is the opening of the SHS program in 2016 to equip the learners with the necessary skills that will better prepare them for the future, whether in employment, entrepreneurship, skills development or pursuit for higher education.

Prior to the passing into law of Republic Act 10533 or The Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 which laid down the foundation of SHS in the basic education, NOHS started modelling the Contact Center Services to cope with the increasing demand of Call Center Agents in the Information Communications Technology-Business Process Outsourcing industry.

Likewise, the school offered Animal Production to keep abreast with the demands in the livestock industry.

The pilot implementation of SHS started on June 15, 2016 offering Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Accountancy, Business and Management (ABM), Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS), and Technical Vocational Livelihood (TVL).

In celebration of its 120th anniversary, Donna Bella O. Aposaga, Assistant Principal II and the Foundation Day chairman, said the occasion will be anchored on #Payitforward.

Through this, she said, hopefully, the alumni could also extend to others the good things they learned from the institution.

In a statement, Aposaga said this year’s celebration will also highlight the contribution of the school in the community and the help extended by various stakeholders in making NOHS what it is today.

The school official also said that this year’s celebration will be a remarkable one after two years of hiatus brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Incidentally, the start of the year-long foundation celebration of NOHS coincided with the holding of the first face-to-face graduation of its Senior High School (SHS) students after two years of having it virtually.

Aposaga stressed that the department-sponsored monthly activities must be anchored on #Payitforward in the duration of the year-long celebration.

Among which is the holding of a Stakeholders’ Summit, where individuals and groups that have been helping the school will be recognized, she added.

Due to the ongoing restrictions brought by the pandemic, only batch representatives will be allowed to attend the kick-off ceremony.*

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