This was the year that Bannister dared to go big. We may be a new school, but our dreams were — and still are — larger than life. We had, then, a small population: only about 49 students and 15 teachers. Yet, we had the courage to mount a run, a school play, a national conference, and a school trip to Rome. And it is all made possible because teachers, parents, and students all work in synergy towards the same goal: Transcendere.
From the beginning, Bannister already perceived itself as an institution where academic excellence will go hand-in-hand with character education. In this year, the Lion Awards was introduced to promote a class’ overall moral, intellectual, and social excellence. With only six classes in both grade school and high school (grades one to three, and first to third years) and with a small group of pre-school students, competition was tight!
Aside from the Lion Awards, the personal formation office was formed. For the first time, virtues of the month were assigned to develop one’s “personal excellence” through good habits — as Aristotle had claimed. The one-man personal formation office headed by Mr. Emmanuel Rentoy received help from mentors and advisers who all espoused the virtues of the month through the classes and chats.
Having received our accreditation as the only Paideia school in the Asia-Pacific region, Bannister felt personally responsible to teach other schools about the Paideia approach. With the help of Paideia’s director, Dr. Terry Roberts, we had been able to hold the first national Paideia conference in Manila. Our young and dauntless faculty were in the University of Asia & the Pacific for three whole days — teaching educators from all over the country on how to facilitate a seminar!
This conference was well-received and opened the eyes of many to the art of conversation in the classroom. That time, we realised that a small school like ours have something great to contribute to the larger community of Filipino educators.
We did not know the profound value of a school play until we did Seussical the Musical. After all the rehearsals, expenses, sweat, and tears, we are confident to say that staging a school-wide play was worth it. Each and every individual who was part of the musical came out as a renewed person. As the curtains fell, students and teachers hugged each other for a job well-done. New talents were discovered and life-long friendships were made. It was also then that we realised how pertinent Horton’s mantra was — a person’s a person no matter how small. A small school with big dreams, we were sure that as a family, Bannister will go places.