Why I Chose Berea Arts and Sciences High School

by on March 7th, 2015
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A question so often asked by eager and apprehensive parents who came across this school of Arts and Sciences. What does this school have to offer? A lot.

I came across this school because of Loyola Student Center(LSC), a review / tutorial center whose proponent happens to be the founder of Berea. Besides the fact that I look up to the founder for his thirst for knowledge and excellence, I also admire his passion for teaching. So I guessed Berea was definitely worth a shot.

Like all parents I wanted to enroll my child in a school that is for keeps. It is very hard to find a school that suits your child’s needs. I went to Berea with my son because I was seriously considering transferring him to another school. His previous school is well-known, by the way. But the class size, which is 35-45 per room was somehow not very conducive to learning. My son is an artist and is very smart. I don’t want to sound biased but I have been tutoring students from well-known for 18 years now and I should know when a child has strong potential to succeed, needs help to succeed, or simply needs someone to believe in him/her potential to succeed. I found that the best school to provide this kind of support was (and still is) Berea.

So many things attracted me to this school that I would have to break it down into sections. I know this may seem long but hey, you are investing in your child’s future. So this is definitely worth the read.

Class Size. Having a small class size ranging from 16-20 people per class, my child had a lot of time and space to grow. In his previous (well-known) grade school, I remember his teacher reprimanding him for drawing in class. Little did the teacher know that a lot of students nowadays can concentrate better doing something else while listening — like how some people like to listen to music while studying. This prevents the student from daydreaming or doing other stuff that might even cause him/her to lose focus in the discussion. Not all children are like my son, but his love for the arts was honed in Berea because it was never shunned because Berea understands each child’s unique intelligence. Why? Because the class is not too big for the students to be strangers. Berea, because of its small population is like one big EXTENDED family. Everyone knows each other, and treats each other like brother and sister. How often do you find a school like this?

Teachers. Most of the teachers came from LSC for very obvious reasons. You know how some very prominent schools teach and then leave the children to understand the topics or even require the students or almost all the students to be tutored? I have been tutoring students from different prestigious private schools and believe me when I say they pay me more than they pay the school. How pathetic is that? You pay a good school but with the provision that to stay, your child may, more often than not, eventually require tutoring… in-house or outsourced. Berea’s faculty, since they were or are tutors by heart, have a strong passion for teaching and know how to teach. In my 18 years of tutoring. I know that being a smart graduate a prestigious university doesn’t necessarily make you a good teacher. To be a good teacher, you need to understand your students, so you could explain things better. I found Berea teachers to be like this. That’s why I didn’t have second thoughts of enrolling my child here.

Curriculum -the Arts and the Sciences. We see arts schools and science schools but rarely do we see arts and sciences schools. This attracted me to Berea because it doesn’t limit my child’s intelligence. He loves the arts but at the same time I know that his knowledge of the major subjects will still be at par with, if not exceed, most students. The good thing about Berea is that there are options to choose a Major and/or an elective. The student has the prerogative to choose this. Electives are Visual Arts, Music, Stage Arts, etc. while Majors include Science, Guitar, Piano, Violin, Voice, Visual Arts and Creative Writing. Berea students become so well-rounded. That as your child graduates, you would see how strong an impact Berea has had in their lives. As a parent, I have taken pride in seeing the children perform much like pros during their presentations. No matter how minor the presentations are, they give it all they got. I have interviewed alumni of Berea and it is very comforting to hear them say how they appreciate the hard work that Berea had instilled in them because without that, they wouldn’t have excelled in their respective colleges.

School. We have seen traditional schools and how they look like. Berea’s environment is unlike other schools. It’s like 3 big houses merged into one. Well, I guess you should see it to appreciate it. But I fell in love with the school the minute I toured the place. The air conditioned “homerooms” are not too big but just enough to accommodate probably 20 students, 25 at the max. They also have a cozy library, computer lab, TLE room and Science Lab. They have a plenary hall to hold small school conferences/ programs and a very nice auditorium to house their major presentations. Again, one should see this to appreciate it. The staff will be more than willing to give you a tour of the place.

Students. The student body is 60% scholars. Yes, scholars. But scholarship varies depending on the financial capacity or academic proficiency of the student. Scholar work assigned to these students allows them to develop a sense of discipline and community unlike that of other private schools I know. But one thing I loved about the students is their sense of family. Everyone knows each other and they treat or call each other Kuya or Ate. They also have Houses – Deimos and Phobos. Upon entering Berea you are assigned to a House. A student will be part of this House throughout his/her stay in Berea. This has proven to be a very friendly competition between the students. Plus, it helps the student have a sense of belonging and responsibility towards other people. Triumphs of each student or their House merit points while offenses make the House lose points. It is a yearlong competition and whoever has the most points at the end of the year wins the House championship trophy. J You should see how dedicated the children are when it comes to activities in Berea and you would know how much this “family” means to them.

Performances. There were students who entered Berea, inexperienced in instruments or even in the performing arts. Having been here for two years, I could say you’ll be surprised how students have embraced the musical and performing skills developed in them by their teachers. The small population allows the school to maximize each and everyone’s potential giving everyone a shot at being great. My son was not outstanding, but here he was given a chance to shine.


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