“Empower Women, Empower the World!”
How It Started
In 1990, when her high school class celebrated its silver jubilee in Manila, Ma. Luisa “Ilo” Echevarria-Wallenstein, HS’65, AB/BS ’70, spearheaded the effort to replicate the joyful celebration in New York for those who missed the homecoming. Thirteen members of HS ’65 class joined her to form the nucleus of the nascent association of alumnae in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. With the help of the Alumnae Office in Mendiola and the efforts of Digna de Borja-Anonas, HS ’65 from Los Angeles, California, the first directory of US-based alumnae was started.
1991 - 1998 Building the Network
Ma. Luisa “Ilo” Echevarria-Wallenstein, HS ’65, AB/BSC ’70
Ilo Echevarria-Wallenstein, HS ’65, AB/BSC ’70, networking through the various classes, gathered enough members to hold its first reunion in the Fall of 1991 in the backyard of Fe Jusay-Abellanosa, HS ’62. The event, attended by 80 alumnae ranging from classes 1949 through 1982, was so successful it became an anticipated biennial moving feast — Daly City, CA in 1993; New York City in 1995; Arlington, VA in 1997; Pasadena City, CA in 1999; Las Vegas, NV in 2001, and Vancouver, Canada in 2003. Ilo Echevarria-Wallenstein was the President during these eight formative years of the association. It was during these years that a U.S. version of “We, the Alumnae” was published. Volunteer editors and contributors such as Myrna Mariano, HS ’67 and Celeste LaTorre-Atienza, BSFN ’65, took turns to reach the alumnae with this newsletter service.
1999 - 2002 Structuring the Organization
Lenore Raquel Santos-Lim, HS ’63
Under the leadership years of Lenore Raquel Santos-Lim, HS '63, the association was established as a corporation. Her team worked on three areas --- directory by Francis M. Tayag, HS ‘65 BSC ‘69 and Barbara Carmelo, HS ‘67, a website by Grace Rebullida-Gallego, HS ‘65 and a Newsletter published quarterly by Remedios “Tita” Dizon, HS ‘63 and Concepcion Abeleda-Beltran, HS ‘66. In 2002, Rose Fabre-Lapena, HS ‘51 and Maria Paz “Chickie” Alvir, HS ‘58, BSChem ‘63, registered the association as an educational foundation under the name of CHS-HGC USA Canada Foundation, Inc. The plan was to create nine chapters covering the continental US, Hawaii and Canada.
2003 - 2005 Becoming CHSNAF
Francisca M. Tayag, HS ’65, BSC ’69
Francis M. Tayag, HS ‘65 BSC ‘69, president for these three years, applied for tax-exempt status and the foundation was reclassified as a “not-for-profit public charitable foundation”. CHSNAF was incorporated as CHS North America Foundation, Inc. (CHSNAF), in New York City and in 2005; the organization’s tax-exempt status was approved under the 501(C)3 section of the IRS tax code. In October 2005, CHSNAF held its first Grand Reunion/Conference in New York City, a two-day event with Carmen Dayrit-Padilla, HS ‘60, Teresita Nitorreda, HS ‘48 AB/BSE ‘52 and Elizabeth King, HS ’70 from the World Bank in Washington, DC as special guests. Gawad Kalinga was ratified as the foundation’s project-of-choice for which approximately $90,000 was raised together with CHSAF at the initiative of HS ‘65, HS ‘68 and HS ‘73 for twovillages in Metro Manila.
2006 - 2007 Working as CHSNAF
Ma. Luisa (Ilo) Echevarria-Wallenstein, HS-65, AB/BSC-70
Ilo Echevarria-Wallenstein was elected the first CHSNAF president for 2006 and 2007. She focused on building the infrastructure to support the operation of a tax-exempt foundation in full compliance of the US tax code. Another priority was building membership across the continent and in consolidating the limited resources of the foundation to helping first CHSM and second, to setting CHSNAF as the center for alumnae to reach out to one another.
The second Grand Reunion/Conference, hosted by the Canada East Chapter was held in Toronto in August 2007. Felina Co-Young, HS '65 BS Math '69, presented the CHSM Institutional Development Plan (IDP), the strategic plan for the survival, sustainability and competitive presence of CHSM to which the alumnae responded generously with the pledges of $100,000.
2008 - 2010 Forging a Role for CHSNAF in CHSM’s Future
Deanna Go Bio, AB ’58, BSC ‘59
Deanna Go Bio, AB ‘58 BSC ‘59, president for 2008-2010 forged a role for CHSNAF in rebuilding CHSM to the level of excellence it once exemplified. She established direct communications with the CHSM administration, the SSpS leadership team and CHSAF, the alumnae foundation in Manila. Joint class projects of HS ‘68’s Caritas Hall and HS ‘73’s “Bubong” Project, the purchase of equipment, and refurbishing of classroom facilities were completed during these years. About 200 alumnae attended the third Grand Reunion/Conference in San Francisco in July 2010 keynoted by CHSM President, Sr. Genoveva Salva, SSpS. The unwavering support of the alumnae for the school was evident in the $200,000 received in pledges for scholarship and other school projects at the fund-raising session of the conference. Because of the alumnae’s overwhelming support and faith in the future of the school, the SSpS congregation made the unprecedented decision to appoint Dr. Felina Co-Young as the first lay President of the school.
2011 - 2013 Affirming CHSNAF’s Commitment to CHSM
Ellen Young-Gomez, HS ’68
Ellen Young-Gomez, HS ‘68, was elected president for 2011-2013, during which time CHSM celebrated two milestones – the official turnover to lay management with the investiture of Dr. Felina Co-Young, HS ‘65 BSMath ‘69 as its first lay alumna president in July 2011 and the celebration of its centennial at the February 2013 homecoming. Ellen started the use of social media and other electronic means to disseminate information and to expand the reach to alumnae as a means to maintain alumnae interest and commitment. Several CHSNAF-sponsored projects including the refurbishing and air-conditioning of the Paraclete Auditorium were completed in 2012. In October 2013, the fourth Grand Reunion/Conference was held in Las Vegas to celebrate the value imprints of a CHSM education. It affirmed CHSNAF’s commitment to CHSM in the areas of scholarship, technology, faculty development, and facilities improvement. CWOW, the brainchild of Victoria Cajipe, HS ‘73 and technology project of HS ‘73 was unveiled at the conference workshop. Again, support was evident in the pledges received from the alumnae.
2014 - 2016 Celebrating CHSNAF’s Turning Silver
Mary Anne Tinio-Fadul, HS ’72
Mary Anne Tinio-Fadul, is the president from 2014 to 2016 when CHSNAF reaches its 25th year of existence and during CHSM’s most unsettled state with its very existence put under deliberation. After a hundred years of being at the forefront of “frontier” mission work of educating young women, the school as the instrument of the charism of the SSpS congregation was re-examined. It was also during her term that catastrophic natural disasters hit the Philippines. Mary Anne shifted her focus from CHSM to disaster relief, from which resulted the rebuilding of livelihood project with the pedicab drivers and the fishermen of Barangay 89 and 90 of Payapay, Leyte; building classrooms in partnership with Feed the Hungry Inc. in Dumarao,Capiz and providing self-help water filtration units for the people through UP Medicine Mu Sigma Phi Foundation. In January 2016, the groundbreaking decision was made to cede full management responsibility to the alumnae. This, our fifth Conference/Grand Reunion in Washington, DC, home of CHSNAF Metropolitan Washington, DC (MWDC) Chapter celebrates these two milestones – CHSNAF’s turning silver and turning over of CHSM to the alumnae. These two historic events are encapsulated in the theme of this Reunion Conference – Empowering Stewardship. We, the members of this “silvered” organization, have been empowered to be responsible stewards of CHSM – to perpetuate the legacy of faith, service and excellence instilled in us by our Alma Mater.