EVOLUTION TO DEMOLITION: ST. JAMES COLLEGE OF QC

EVOLUTION

St. James College of Quezon City, formerly St. James School, was the first big nonsectarian and coeducational school founded by the Torres couple in 1978. The defunct collegiate school was once seated on a one-hectare lot acquired by the late businessman, custom broker, and real estate developer, Mr. Jaime T. Torres, on Tandang Sora Avenue, Quezon City in 1975.

At first, Mr. Jaime T. Torres and Mrs. Myrna Montealegre-Torres co-founded St. James Child Care Center in Philamlife Homes, Quezon City, in 1971. The idea of a child care center came after the Torres couple realized the necessity for new learning venues at that time, so they set their sights on new methods and practices for the child’s formative years. Similarly, Mr. and Mrs. Torres envisaged having college courses in the fullness of time.

Mr. Jaime T. Torres, the brainchild of St. James School System

In 1979, in response to the enrollees’ fast-growing demands, the couple was obliged to establish two additional child care centers in New Manila and Sta. Mesa Heights in Quezon City. During that time, St. James School System had already employed more than forty educators who underwent rigorous screening and in-service training.

St. James School of Quezon City

Subsequently, St. James School of Quezon City advanced, expanded, and branched out after years of prolific operations. Hence, St. James School of Parañaque and St. James College of Calamba came into existence in 1987 and 1994 through the diligent assistance of Mr. Pablito Siwa Belardo.

To sum it up, the Torreses, during their heydays, had produced three big schools and over twelve child care centers since 1971.


Before his employment at St. James School in 1987, Dr. Pablito Siwa Belardo was then affiliated with the Quezon City Academy.

Way back, Dr. Pablito Belardo was one of the officials of the Association of Private School Administrators (APSA), which Mrs. Myrna Montealegre-Torres was an official too. At that time, Mrs. Myrna Torres was the administrative head of St. James Child Care Center in Philamlife Homes along EDSA in Quezon City, where the APSA regularly conducted its meetings.

Mrs. Myrna Torres, a noted child psychologist, a preschool educator, and the pioneer of the kindergarten program, offered then Dr. Belardo a juicy job at the main branch of St. James School on Tandang Sora Avenue, Quezon City.

Mrs. Myrna Montealegre-Torres

Therefore, Mrs. Mryna Torres, who was also a School Directress, immediately introduced and presented Dr. Pablito Belardo to the co-founder, Mr. Jaime “James” Torres, and the rest is history.

During his tenure, Dr. Pablito Belardo functioned as the high school principal of the main branch of St. James School. Besides, the Torres couple gave Mr. Belardo discretionary powers to arrange and tailor papers for the establishment of St. James School of Parañaque in 1987.

St. James School of Parañaque

Likewise, the versatile high school principal aided the founding of its first collegiate school, St. James College of Calamba, in 1994. So, virtually, Mr. Belardo acted in concurrent capacity as a school principal, a school head, and an executive assistant for these three big schools.

St. James College of Calamba

Dr. Pablito Belardo, now a septuagenarian, had served the institution for 34 fruitful and innovative years.

Interview with the long-time Executive Assistant and School Head of St. James College, Dr. Pablito Siwa Belardo

DEMOLITION

On 1 February 2019, Mrs. Myrna Montealegre-Torres, the School President and Directress, and Mr. James Kenley M. Torres, the Executive Vice-President, sounded the alarm as they handed out a distressing one-page communication to the students, parents, faculty, and staffers regarding their irrevocable decision of ceasing its school operation effective 01 June 2019.

Thus, the alumni mustered the Jamesians through the Farewell To Thee Grand Alumni Homecoming Music Festival slated on the day the school ceased operation.

St. James College of Quezon City: Before and After

Three months after its cessation, the upsetting demolition and obliteration of the learning environments started to advance under the very noses of unsuspecting Jamesians.

Photo credit: Mr. Rhedel Sy

Notwithstanding the unfortunate upshot, the alumni will forever ingrain the legacy of Jamesian culture and recollect the memories they have had.

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