MANILA – Metro Manila College Inc. (MMC), the first private high school to open as Novaliches Academy (NA) in 1947 in the former town of Novaliches (now part of Quezon City and Caloocan City), is highlighting the celebration of its 75th founding anniversary this year with the giving of Distinguished Alumni awards to its graduates since the 1950s.

Natividad Miranda-Villano, chairperson of the MMC-NA Alumni Awards Selection Committee, said the recognition is the highest honor bestowed by the school to its former students who distinguished themselves for "outstanding display of high-level performance and went the extra mile to successfully and remarkably fulfill with extraordinary dedication their duties and responsibilities to serve others, and admirably refused to be ordinary."

She said the awardees have been chosen by the committee and the MMC Board of Directors from nominations submitted during the Search for Distinguished Alumni launched by the school through the MMC-Novaliches Academy General Alumni Association.

The awarding ceremonies will be held at 6 p.m. on March 4 at the Manila Hotel's Centennial Hall.

Another highlight of the celebration is a grand alumni homecoming on Feb. 25 at the MMC Campus, University Site in Barangay Kaligayahan, Novaliches, Quezon City to give an opportunity for living graduates of the school since the 1950s to see and meet each other again.

The former Novaliches Academy was the pioneer secondary educational institution in Novaliches, a town that used to belong alternately to the provinces of Bulacan, Manila and Rizal from 1855 until it was abolished in 1903 due to inadequate number of population.

The school was actually established in 1947, and the commemoration of its 75th anniversary was supposed to be held in 2022, but was put off for this year to give time for the school administration to search for the outstanding graduates.

In an article in the Gawad Metronian Educational Foundation Inc. (GMEFI) souvenir magazine, Dr. Evelyne M. Dominguez, president of the GMEFI Board of Trustees, traced the birth of the MMC 75 years ago by her parents, Dr. Mamerto S. Miranda and Dr. Ligaya M. Miranda.

She said after the World War II in 1945, her father, a United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) veteran who survived the April 1942 Bataan Death March, observed that parents in Novaliches could not send their children to secondary schools in distant Caloocan town and Manila because of poverty. There was no secondary school in Novaliches at that time.

Miranda knew that the only way to give the children hope and a better future was through education, so he founded the school in March 1947. Originally located at the old Plaza Novaliches-Bayan, it started with just 14 students.

As years passed by and the number of students grew, it began to offer tertiary courses and the name Novaliches Academy was changed to Metro Manila College in 1977. It thus became the first private school in Novaliches to offer college courses, in addition to pre-school, elementary, junior and senior high schools at present.

The school later transferred to a more spacious campus with an area of three-and-a-half hectares in Barangay Kaligayahan, Novaliches, just off the current Novaliches District Center. (PNA)