Twenty-nine years ago, PAREF Southridge pioneer graduate Mann Rentoy gathered a small but determined group of parents and together they introduced the Parents for Education Foundation Inc. (PAREF) system to another small group of parents in Iloilo City. They discussed briefly about character formation, the mentoring system, and the benefits of an all-boys school.
Thus was basically the beginning of the PAREF Westbridge School for boys, with a slowly growing company of couples attending monthly Educhild parenting classes at a rented house that resembled a ship’s superstructure. With meager resources to begin a school, the “boathouse” sometimes feel like a lifeboat, but the PAREF system worked: home and school worked together as a family and everyone rowed in unison. Founding board members and parents worked together with enthusiasm and support, openly devoting time and effort to make the fledgling school succeed.
Founded in 1992, the initial campus was located at the Lopez Mansion, but transferred in 1997 to its current 2.3 hectare property at Magsaysay Village, La Paz, Iloilo City. The School follows 3 Core Values of Competence, Service, and Integrity (CSI), because it aims to create, Men of Integrity. PAREF Westbridge continues to grow its own list of successful graduates who have grown up to be Christian gentlemen in fine schools and careers. What is less obvious is the list of graduates who have been away from home without crashing out from scandals or career-ending problems.
What does PAREF Westbridge School have to offer? The school’s yearbook Vestigium explains it best: “Our school environment is that of a bright and cheerful home, where parents, teachers, students and staff treat each other as members of the Christian family.”
PAREF Westbridge boasts of two unique features that promote a strong sense of family: a strong collaboration between parents and teachers that focuses on the bond between father and son, and the learning and growth of the individual in all facets of life.
The mentoring system is central to PAREF Westbridge education. Throughout the year, the mentoring chats enable teachers and tutors to assess the individual learning and growth of their tutees. While classroom instruction focuses on academic life, the mentoring chats with parents and students aim to develop each member of the PAREF Westbridge family into a responsible and sensible person.
Graduate Cornelio Salinas expresses it thus: “Mentoring helped me in three aspects of my life: emotional, spiritual and academics. The first one is emotional: the conversations that my tutor and I had helped me emotionally by letting me have a person other than my parents to talk about my problems and sometimes my achievements. They helped me overcome some of my problems and also taught me some key things which lead to the second aspect which is my spiritual life. I learned from my tutors certain virtues which molded me into the way I am. They taught me virtues like obedience, love for God, and independence that I needed at that time. They influenced me to be a better son to my parents by obeying them more and by getting better grades which leads me to my third aspect: my academic life. Whenever I got good grades or did something great they were the ones of the first to congratulate me and because of the positive feedback I got, I strive more to become a better student.”
For 29 years, PAREF Westbridge has created a niche of its own and is delighted of its share of achievers in Iloilo City, in the province and in the whole Panay Island. The school has proven its worth as an academic institution. Its students won various competitions in the fields of academics, mathematics, literary, musical, sports, cultural events, leadership and community service.
PAREF Westbridge has produced future awardee of Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) and recipients of the yearly city and province wide search for outstanding student leaders and the most outstanding pupil of the Province of Iloilo. Yearly, we produce officials in the Rotary boys and girls week celebration. Students of PAREF Westbridge were recipients of Honorary City Mayor.
In the field of sports, the PAREF Westbridge football team snatched a 2009 Palaro Championship trophy in elementary football, signaling the start of Westbridge’s reputation as the football team to beat. PAREF Westbridge Football Club of elementary and high school levels is one of the highly competitive teams in Iloilo City. The basketball team has won several basketball championships in different leagues. PAREF Westbridge has the share of the champion swimmers and some of the finest Chess players of the city.
In academics, PAREF Westbridge School math wizards has been PRISAA champions in the elementary and high school levels. Math geniuses continue to reap awards in local, national and international competitions. In Super Quiz Bee, PAREF Westbridge has been champion in Makabayan, Math, Spelling and Science.
“Westwaves,” the official publication has been regarded as one of the promising school publications in Iloilo City having several journalism contest winners in its staff. Other students have been excelling in debates, public speaking and other literary – musical contests.
PAREF Westbridge continues its commitment to training students to serve others. The school’s community immersions had been noted and appreciated by other organizations. Among our students, the yearly Nabitasan outreach program every December is a friendship event that is highly anticipated. PAREF Westbridge consistently developed holistic students who are men of integrity and Christian gentlemen in their ways.
Businessman and former Iloilo City Councilor David Jamora is also the Westbridge alumni president and has this to say:”Westbridge has been true to its motto, Duc in Altum. I learned to look deeper into myself and found strength and abilities that I never knew I had. There I learned to challenge myself…although the school grooms and taps the potential of each student to be the best, it strictly instills that we should be humble and charitable.
PAREF Westbridge eagerly continues to look toward the future with the same conviction that it began within that rented boathouse three decades ago. Indeed, its motto, Duc in Altum (Go out into the Deep), befits its role with parents as a primary force in society to raise Christian gentlemen as they too go out into the deep.