ON MARCH 13, Ateneo de Manila University president Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, SJ, released a memo about the changes due to take place in the school following the government’s K-12 basic education reform program. (See related story on Page C2.)
Among the changes is a “landmark decision” to admit female students into the Ateneo Senior High School (grades 11 and 12) starting school year 2016-2017.
News of Ateneo High School becoming coed drew numerous reactions from all over the country. It caused a great stir on social media. Twitter and Facebook posts showed just how varied the opinions
There were those who were against it. But others were supportive.
Those who questioned the decision thought of the risks of putting girls in an otherwise all-boys school, while some believed that Ateneo was not prepared to make this transition so soon.
Many Ateneo High School students themselves were surprised upon learning of the memo. They couldn’t help expressing their own opinions on the issue.
“I believe it might not be such a good idea. First, since Ateneo is an all-boys school, students could get distracted from their studies. The other thing I’m concerned about is if the school would have enough space in the classrooms. Would Ateneo remove some of my batchmates to make space for the girl enrollees? Although I find myself saying no to these changes, I’m really looking forward to what will happen next year.”—Romar Ramos, 14
“I think it will be a big transformation. The coeducational system may change how Ateneo molds its students. This change could increase the consciousness of both sexes and train them to adapt to different types of people. This may also help the students grow and develop, mentally and emotionally. Lastly, I believe this would help Ateneans become more mature and careful with their actions in the near future.”—Jolo Viceo, 15
“I cannot say whether this would be good or bad for the whole student body. However, I am a bit worried that the school may experience difficulties with this change. The identity of the high school as an exclusive all-boys school will no longer be continued, and the students may experience a culture shock, which may or may not affect their studies. I would prefer that the Ateneo High School remains an all-boys school, just like it was for over 150 years. Nevertheless, I do hope things turn out well with the new implementations.”—Enzo Villanueva, 15
“I think it would help develop male students into gentlemen. Some guys are torpe, so I would think that having mandatory interaction with girls would help them develop gentlemanly manners and, perhaps, comfort in talking to girls.”—Aero Estrellado, 16
“I have no problem with Ateneo High School becoming coed. A diverse environment is vital in the formation of a student. However, I just hope Ateneo prioritizes polishing the K-12 first. The coed system won’t be executed properly if the K-12 program is left unpolished.”— Marcus Luna, 17
“In my opinion, changing Ateneo High School to coed is a great idea, but wouldn’t it lose the Ateneo tradition—how it teaches and molds young boys into gentlemen? I’m just saying, for me, Ateneo has been known as an all-boys school, so changing it to coed, will also change the Ateneo that I knew, loved and grew up in. However, change is good, and I’m actually looking forward to what will happen …”—Aaron Seechung, 17
“Ateneo going coed is certainly a big step in our changing world today. It will open up opportunities for the female students, and also affect the behavior of male students in class. I think that if the students and the faculty all work toward the goals of the university, then Ateneo would be producing world-class students ready to solve our society’s problems.”—Luis Ilagan, 17
As a fresh high school graduate of Ateneo, my only regret is that I will no longer be there to witness these transformations. Nonetheless, I really hope things turn out well. I wish that Ateneo would continue to support the dreams of the young, bright minds who choose to study there, and I yearn for the day when I would have the chance to enroll my future sons and daughters in the Ateneo Senior High School as well.
I also believe that switching to a coed system isn’t such an impossible task; other schools, such as San Beda, were able to pull it off a few years ago. Lastly, I have full faith in what my school is capable of doing for its students, and I cannot wait to see the Ateneo Senior High School form adolescents into men and women for others.