Students of Wawang Pulo Elementary School in Valenzuela were all too eager to go to class in their new two-storey, four-classroom building donated by partners SM Prime Holdings, Inc., SM Foundation and Deutsche Bank Ag Manila. The new school building was fully furnished with armchairs, wall fans, blackboards and teachers’ desks.
Home to a population of 575,356, Valenzuela faces increasing enrollment each year. Because of this, the Wawang Pulo Elementary School struggles to serve not only students from its own barangay but also nearby communities, making the new building an invaluable addition to the area.
Wawang Pulo Elementary School Principal Arcenoel Zapatos said, “Before the renovation, the students borrowed rooms from the nearby Wawang Pulo High School Building for their classes while students from special education students made use of the 2nd floor hallway.”
Zapatos added that there are 868 students currently enrolled in Wawang Pulo Elementary School, with an average of 40-60 students in one classroom. The new school building will be providing permanent rooms to 395 students including 15 special education students.
“Now that this new school building has been entrusted to us, we will ensure that the future students of Wawang Pulo can also benefit from it,” he remarked. “The SM group and Deutsche Bank are God’s blessing to us. With them, truly, no school is left behind.”
Linda Atayde, SM Foundation’s Executive Director for Education, added, “The construction of school buildings is a continuing testament to SM Foundation’s goal of bringing education to more students, especially to those living in densely populated areas such as Valenzuela. Not only that, by providing an environment conducive to learning, we also contribute in enriching the students’ minds.”
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank Manila Ag Chief Operating Officer Atty. Rhoneil Fajardo said, “Education is one of our pillars in Deutsche Bank. We believe that education is important for the development of the country and we are committed to contribute and make a difference in the lives of the community of Wawang Pulo.”
Deutsche Bank takes their initiative further by engaging their employees to help in drawing inspirational murals on the classroom walls. The weekend before the building turnover, forty employee-volunteers from their Makati office trooped to Wawang Pulo Elementary School to paint the classrooms as a surprise for the students.
Fajardo added, “We look forward to building more school buildings in partnership with SM Foundation.”
To date, the collaboration between SM Foundation and Deutsche Bank has produced 12 school buildings with 48 classrooms.
The SM group continues to use its vast presence to address the communities’ basic developmental needs. Under its social development arm SM Foundation, the SM group empowers communities by providing opportunities in education through school buildings and scholarship grants, food security through farmers’ trainings, and health and wellness through medical missions and renovation of health facilities.
This new addition to the Wawang Pulo Elementary School is SM Foundation’s first school building donation in Valenzuela City. To date, the Foundation has already built 69 school buildings with 204 classrooms, nationwide.
SM group and Deutsche Bank Ag Manila: Collaborating for education. (From left): SM Foundation Assistant Vice President for Education, Lingling Lansang; Wawang Pulo Elementary School Principal, Arcenoel Zapatos; SM Foundation Executive Director, Debbie Sy; Deutsche Bank Ag Manila Vice President, Head of Implementation and Service, Jojo Reyes; Deutsche Bank Ag Manila Country Chief Operating Officer, Atty. Rhoneil Fajardo; SM Foundation Executive Director for Education, Linda Atayde; Wawang Pulo Barangay Captain, Rodolfo Soriano; and Wawang Pulo Teacher, Mariecar Felix.