Hopwood PTA officers offer to help raise funds to rebuild school

OFFICERS of the Parent Teacher Association of Hopwood Middle School on Thursday said they will raise funds to help rebuild the school.

In their letter to the Board of Education and the Public School System, Hopwood PTA president Rosalie Litulumar, vice president Mildred Ebuen, and treasurer/secretary Damiana Arkoh Chavel Green said BOE/PSS should not prolong their children’s stay on a temporary campus in Koblerville which they described as inappropriate for young children.

They said the temporary campus lacks facilities to provide an environment conducive for learning.

“We appreciate the fact that a few months after Typhoon Yutu hit and caused damage to our old campus in Chalan Piao, a temporary campus in Koblerville was built for our children to have access to full-day instructions…. [But] the design is more of a military facility and not intended for temporary classrooms. To protect their mental and emotional welfare, we strongly recommend not to prolong their stay in this type of facility.”

Litulumar read the PTA’s letter during the BOE capital improvement projects committee meeting on Thursday.

According to the PTA officers, the temporary facility’s “durability is also concerning. We believe that these types of materials will not withstand other typhoons and we may risk the collateral and technology equipment we have invested for our students.”

The military-style tents are “already showing indications of deterioration and several LED lights have burnt out and are irreplaceable,” the PTA officers added.

They said the temporary campus lacks restrooms that can accommodate Hopwood’s 900 students and 65 teachers and staff. “This is very concerning for the health and welfare of our children. The temporary campus also lacks cafeteria. Students eat in the classrooms which we believe is unsanitary and may cause health hazards and issues with food handling and pest infestations.”

Hopwood PTA president Rosalie Litulumar, standing background, reads the letter signed by the Parent Teacher Association expressing  concern about the welfare of their children. The PTA officers attended the Board of Education’s capital improvement projects committee meeting on Thursday.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio Hopwood PTA president Rosalie Litulumar, standing background, reads the letter signed by the Parent Teacher Association expressing concern about the welfare of their children. The PTA officers attended the Board of Education’s capital improvement projects committee meeting on Thursday. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

In addition, the PTA officers said the temporary campus lacks an awning to cover the walkways; a stage area and other facilities that will help students become productive and creative individuals; and an area for the children’s sports and recreational activities.

“This is very concerning because we believe that the purpose of education is to develop the whole child, and the lack of such facilities will hinder their development,” the PTA officers said.

Also attending the BOE committee hearing were Hopwood principal Dr. Rizalina Liwag and administrative staff.

Liwag has asked Education Commissioner Glenn Muna to allow them to return to the Hopwood campus and use the 19 classrooms that were not damaged by Typhoon Yutu.

To avoid overcrowding, Liwag recommended holding double-session classes.

In an interview, Muna said the Hopwood principal will meet with PTA officers next week to discuss a plan they can recommend to BOE and PSS.

He said he will make an official statement once he sees the PTA’s plan.

Liwag earlier told Variety that PSS was still waiting for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to approve the project plan for Hopwood’s repair and renovation.