For the glory of God —The Light Shines Brighter!

by L. Padolina

The Early Years…

The story of Divine Light Academy is linked to the transformation of Las Piņas as a backwoods suburbia to a vibrant young city of Metropolitan Manila and to the life affirming experience of a middle class couple.

In the middle 70s, the Municipality of Las Piņas was undergoing transition. The vast marsh and grasslands previously committed to agriculture were being developed into middle class residential villages whose residents were primarily urban professionals from the Greater Manila Area.

Two of these young urban professionals were Engineer Antonio D. Sese, a junior manager from one of the country’s leading car companies and Mrs. Leonila D. Sese who was a teacher-administrator in an upscale school in Alabang, Muntinlupa.

 The couple could have chosen to just go along with their successful career if not for a light that flickered into their imagination. Earlier, they were faced with a problem on how to deal with their preschool children at a time when day care centers and nursery schools were unheard of. And it dawned on them that they were not the only parents in the same situation. Many of their neighbors were in the same predicament- wanting their very young kids to be in a place that could prepare them for grade school.

And so in 1977, Mrs. Sese took the risk of resigning from her job to become manager-owner-teacher of a little neighborhood preschool inside her family residence in Rosas St., Doņa Manuela Subdivision. She had no grand dreams- quite contented that in the morning, she ministered her 23 kindergarten and 21 Prep pupils while the rest of the day was devoted to her own family needs.

Thus, the establishment of Kiddies Learning Center (KLC) was a response to a need made apparent by the growth of sprawling residential subdivisions in the area.

The little light that was KLC slowly caught the attention of other parents, for here was a place where their children could learn and play. Parents felt secured that while they were out working, their kids were having a swell time acquiring the necessary life skills and values needed for elementary schooling.

Soon enough, additional classrooms were constructed to meet the burgeoning demand. Only on its fifth year, KLC embraced some 255 preschool children. Impressed with its unique homey environment and quality teaching-learning process, more parents expressed a strong clamor to open a grade school. Parents saw the need for a continuity of KLC foundation.

1982 was a year truly memorable with its triple whammy for KLC history: the opening of the grade one course, the inauguration of the two-storey grade school building in Rosal St. (which is to become the main campus) and the enrolment hit to 481 pupils.

From KLC to DLA

Meanwhile, the main stretch of the Alabang-Zapote Road has been slowly transformed into a commercial hub of banks, convenient stores, movie houses, and other centers of shopping and amusement. By 1988, Las Piņas was a convergence of middle class living and a vibrant commerce.

And KLC was at the crossroads of this convergence—and this little light was also reaching another turning point. On the occasion of its decade anniversary and the graduation of its pioneer grade school batch, the light was now a flame under the name of Divine Light Academy (DLA). By this time, the school had an enrolment of 1096 pupils from nursery to grade six.

Mrs. Sese has become the School Head while her supportive husband has taken the role of Administrative Head. With a faculty roster of 31 and a non-teaching staff of 14, the DLA family has indeed grown by leaps and bounds.

Another milestone was reached in 1994, on the eve of Las Pinas’ transformation as a new city in Metro Manila, DLA was expanding its educational mission by opening a campus in Molino, Cavite. The new DLA campus inside Town & Country Subdivision offered complete preschool and basic education on its first year of operation.

Not to be left behind, when the Las Piņas campus celebrated its 20 anniversary, a groundbreaking was done for the high school building. In June 1998, DLA Las Piņas welcomed its first and second year high school students armed with renewed vigor after the school was rededicated to the Lord during the liturgical service held for its 20 foundation celebration.

And Beyond…

The school has embarked on a strategic physical development program by refurbishing old structures, erecting new ones such as the covered courts, laboratories, gardens, new classrooms, main cafeteria, new offices, parking spaces etc. These structures are equipped with the latest in instructional technology. Classrooms are now fully air-conditioned including the library, cafeteria and other function rooms.

An intensive faculty development program is also in place to assure a roster of qualified and competent instructional staff who are all licensed professionals pursuing graduate course work in their specialized areas of instruction. This is balanced by religious and social formation programs conducted every year to infuse the shepherding mission of the faculty vis-ā-vis their students with a view of integrating social awareness through active community extension services.

Today, with a combined population close to 3,000 students, Divine Light Academy stands proud to be one of the leading schools in basic education in Southern Metro Manila. Its strings of awards, commendations, and recognition received from other sectors are testament to its brilliance. More than the numerous tokens, plaques, and trophies received, what matters most to the DLA family is the continued respect, love and fidelity it enjoys from the larger community. It is truly a school with a big heart to share.

DLA is after all dedicated towards the glory of God! And so the light shines brighter…