Whitesands Staff visit Schools in Metro Manila. Two Whitesands staff, Mr Uchenna Ezugwu (Vice Principal, Junior School) and Mr Polycarp Ekwemadu (Dean of Studies) spent two weeks in August 2019 in Metro Manila, Philippines. They went for a working visit to PAREF Southridge School, one of the schools owned by the Parents for Education Foundation (PAREF). Southridge is a school for boys founded on the same principles as Whitesands. The principal, Dr. Lorenzo David, arrived a week later to join them. The trip to the Philippines is part of the staff development effort of Whitesands. Their visit was very fruitful as they tapped from the wealth of experience of Southridge which is already 40 years old. They had a chance to meet with the different directors and staff of Southridge to find out what they were doing well and differently. They also had the chance to meet the student council members. They met the parents who were directly in charge of the activities on parents’ formation in Southridge. Two families of Southridge provided them with accommodation during their stay in Manila. Southridge prepared a day-to-day itinerary which included a day to visit different parts of Metro Manila. Our staff had a chance to see the historic places as well as the commercial centres of the city so as to help them contextualize the Southridge School with respect to its surrounding society. Part of the plan was for them to attend a long retreat at the Makiling Conference Center, where they had a chance to spend time for a long period of prayer as well as interact with Filipino parents, teachers and other professional men who have come for the same purpose. There was a chance to visit also a nearby public school, the Muntinlupa National High School (MNHS) so that they could have an idea of how other schools are doing. That enabled them to put into context the educational project of Southridge with respect to the other schools in Manila. Our staff received a very warm welcome from students and staff of MNHS.
Our staff also visited the PAREF Woodrose School, the counterpart school for girls in Metro Manila. It was quite an eye-opener to see a school that is well run from all points of view. This visit has created a lot of excitement both for Southridge and Whitesands. The two schools have expressed interest in developing a periodic exchange programme for both staff and students.