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The First Special Science Class in Western Visayas was launched at the Iloilo National High School in 1988 to meet the scientific and technological manpower needs of the country. Let me share with you the story that inspired me to initiate this special program. In 1986, a second-year high school drop out from the University of the Philippines with a highest grade of 65, wanted to enroll at the Iloilo National High School. I didnít want to take him in considering that the school would prefer to take in the best students, not drop outs. However after administering an intelligence test to the student, I found out that he has an IQ 145, which is just like Einstein. So I took the child in, I enrolled him on the condition that the parents would have to cooperate with the school in every activity that it undertakes. We allowed the child to join the school competition in investigatory project, where surprisingly he won first place; again, in the division level where he won first place; and in the regional level where he again won first place; and in the national level where he he ranked number One. The Republic of the Philippines sent him to Fort Worth Texas, USA in 1986 and he won 2nd place among the contestants from all over the world.

At that time, the school had no microscopes; and all the laboratory instructions were being done on the black board; laboratory activities were mostly lectures and the students didnít have experience on hands-on experiment. It was then a miracle made possible by the remarkable cooperation of the parents, the school and the teachers. The rest was history. That singular outstanding achievement of a school drop-out transformed into a world-class young scientist became the basis for the rationale of the special science class program which I presented to Education Secretary Lourdes Quisumbing. At first the Education Department was not quite amenable to what I wanted to propose but I reasoned out that the countryís capital region, Manila, does not have the monopoly of the best minds in the world. As a provinciano from Iloilo, I sounded very insistent, so the Education Secretary approved the proposal on an experimental basis. The years that followed proved that the Special Science program produced highly competent students who later excelled in their fields of study.

In 1995, the Department of Education borrowed the curriculum of the Iloilo National High School Special Science Class and had it adopted in every region of the country. So in 1995, the Department of Science and Technology administered a national competitive exam to all the 110 node schools all over the country. Since 1995, up to the present, the Special Science Class of the Iloilo National High School ranks number 1 in English, Science and Math.

By: Riza Sargado Amaguin, Ed. D.
Former Principal IV
(1981- June 19, 2006)

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