1965 unfolded a new horizon among the Spanish Dominican fathers with the founding of an exclusive school for boys. It was built on a beautifully landscaped three-hectare lot at 183 F. Blumentritt St. San Juan, Metro Manila. It was named after the brilliant Dominican saint, St. Thomas Aquinas, who is also the patron saint of all Catholic schools.
Like all Dominican institutions in the Philippines, Aquinas has as its main concern the total formation of its students: the holistic development of their physical, intellectual and moral endowments to the utmost of their capabilities preparing them for a mature life lived in freedom and responsibility.
In 1969, the government extended full recognition of the school’s complete Elementary and High School courses. In 1976 Aquinas School was allowed to operate a co-educational Nursery Program. It was at the time that the Kindergarten and Preparatory classes, which have been in existence since 1965, moved to a new site within the campus, equipped with bigger and modern facilities. In 1977, a multi-purpose building was added which houses the Science, Computer and Speech laboratories, the CAT, Outreach and Parents’ Council offices, the Guidance Center and the gymnasium to better serve its growing population. During its silver anniversary in 1990, the new Administration building and the covered gallery and shelters were constructed to meet the expanding requirements of operation. In 1997, the auditorium came into existence where the fitness/recreation centers and hall are located. The football field serves as the avenue for the students to play athletic games. In 2005, supplementary facilities like the St. Martin Peace Garden and the RCYC Garden were established as shelters for the seedlings grown by the club members and Science enthusiasts as they actualize their growing concern towards the conservation and preservation of the Mother Earth..
In 1993, challenged by the desire to deliver quality education, the school started to undertake the process of accreditation. With the unconditional support of the members of the school community, self-analysis and evaluation of its programs resulted in a positive outcome. The school applied for a Preliminary Survey with the PAASCU in November 24-25, 1995 for the Grade School Department and December 6-7, 1995 for the High School Department. It was granted an applicant status in April 1996 giving the school one year to apply for a Formal Visit. The PAASCU accreditors were invited for a Formal Survey on February 10-11, 1997 for the Grade School Department and February 27-22, 1997 for the High School Department. Both departments were granted three- year accredited status. In August 2-3, 2000 (High School Department) and August 9-10, 2000 (Grade School Department), the school had its Resurvey Visit resulting in a five year accredited status from 2001-2006. From the successful results of the accreditation, Aquinas School ventured into innovative curriculum and instruction through the structured Curriculum Pathing intended to better prepare the high school students for the work-related career in the areas such as Life and Health Science, Engineering Systems and Business Management. The school’s educational endeavors had been highlighted in 2006 as the school was once again granted a five-year accredited status from May 2006 to May of 2011.
The quest towards its mission of becoming a leading center for basic education in San Juan continues. The school underwent another re-survey visit and was successfully granted a clean slate re-accredited status for five years from April 2011 to April 2016 as attested and confirmed by the PAASCU and FAAP respectively.
The inspiration derived from the results of these endeavors makes everyone commit himself to continue the goal of achieving a competitive and relevant Aquinian Education. Its curriculum and instruction are redesigned adopting the framework that leads Aquinians to a long-lasting understanding of life-related content that is Filipino-Dominican and is grounded on the foundation and essence of its education being in a progressive but conservative state.
The religious atmosphere provided by the centuries-old Santuario del Sto. Cristo and the Dominican Priory of the Holy Cross contributes significantly to the moral and spiritual growth of Aquinas students.
St. Thomas Aquinas: Patron Saint
Feast Date: January 28
Title: Doctor Angelicus
Date of Canonization: January 18, 1323
Masterpieces: Summa Theologiae and Summa Contra Gentiles
Thomas Aquinas was born of noble parents at Aquino in Italy, in 1226. At the age of nineteen, he received the Dominican habit at Naples, where he was studying. Seized by his brothers on his way to Paris, he suffered a two years’ captivity in their castle of Rocca-Secca; but neither the caresses of his mother and sisters, nor the threats and stratagems of his brothers, could shake him in his vocation. While St. Thomas was in confinement at Rocca-Secca, his brothers endeavored to entrap him into sin, but the attempt only ended in the triumph of his purity. Snatching from the hearth a burning brand, the Saint drove from his chamber the wretched creature whom they had there concealed. Then marking a cross upon the wall, he knelt down to pray, and forthwith, being rapt in ecstasy, an angel girded him with a cord, in token of the gift of perpetual chastity which God had given him. The pain caused by the girdle was so sharp that St. Thomas uttered a piercing cry, which brought his guards into the room. But he never told this grace to anyone, saved only to Father Raynald, his confessor, a little while before his death, hence originated the Confraternity of the “Angelic Warfare,” for the preservation of the virtue of chastity.
Having at length escaped, St. Thomas went to Cologne to study under Blessed Albert the Great, and after that to Paris, where for many years he taught philosophy and theology. The Church has ever venerated his numerous writings as a treasure-house of sacred doctrine; while in naming him the Angelic Doctor he has indicated that his science is more divine than human. The rarest gifts of intellect were combined in him with the tenderest piety. Prayer, he said, had taught him more than study. His singular devotion to the Blessed Sacrament shines forth in the Office and hymns for Corpus Christi, which he composed. To the words miraculously uttered by a crucifix at Naples, “Well hast thou written concerning Me, Thomas. What shall I give thee as a reward?” he replied, “Naught save Thyself, O Lord.” He died at Fossa-Nuova, 1274, on his way to the General Council of Lyons, to which Pope Gregory X had summoned him.