ADDU High School tops National Search for Eco-friendly Schools

The High School (HS) Unit of the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) was proclaimed the winner of the National Search for Sustainable and Eco-friendly Schools, High School Division, at an awarding event on 20 November at SM City North EDSA in Quezon City. A plaque and a cash prize of Php 50,000 were received by Fr. Michael I. Pineda SJ, HS principal.

“Winning the 2013 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-friendly Schools is our contribution to the Church, the Society of Jesus, and the Ateneo de Davao University’s mission of a more vigorous environmental protection,” Pineda said. “It is also a sign of hope. The national award shows that we can instruct and form future leaders who will help heal and save the wounded creation,” Pineda added.

The ADDU High School forms students to be men and women for others and for the environment through participation in treeplanting, mangrove reforestation, and coastal cleanups. In 2011, ADDU took its green initiatives to the next level by launching its greening program called Ecoteneo, beginning with Ecological Solid Waste Management.

The high school students, in rotating assignments by classrooms, monitor the waste segregation bins to ensure that waste materials are placed in the proper bins and that liquids are removed from plastic bottles. With effective segregation and a shift away from plastics as food packaging, within a year residuals were reduced from 57 percent of its waste stream to 38 percent.

In 2012, junkfood and softdrinks were banned from the campus for both health and environmental reasons. Also in 2012, Ateneo HS students shared the school’s segregation practice and donated segregation bins to the neighboring S.I.R. Elementary School.

In 2013, Ecoteneo introduced a “Room of Requirements,” where reusable materials such as school supplies can be donated for other members of the high school community to reuse. Every year, Ecoteneo organizes an annual fun run in Matina called EnviRUNment. An Earth Hour reminder is played over the public address system everyday, where lunchbreak is lights out for classrooms and offices. ADDU-HS faculty are currently undertaking action research supported by the University to assess the scope and effectiveness of the Ecoteneo program.

The HS faculty have been given a series of retreats in the beautiful mountains of Davao City as well as workshops on campus to help them greater appreciate creation and to further integrate the environment into the classroom, particularly in the performance tasks or projects for different subjects. For example, projects in Math have including calculating planting densities of different forest and fruit trees and constructing and flying kites to apply their understanding of triangles while experiencing the wind.

Conservation ecologist and ADDU HS alumnus Dr. Nina Ingle, HS curriculum consultant for the environment, says that students in Davao City have a wonderful 2,444 sq-km laboratory in Davao City (as well as neighboring Samal Island) to learn about the different ecosystems or landscapes upon which we depend, from the 300 sq-km urban area to Davao’s forests and rivers, and agricultural, coastal and marine landscapes.

ADDU-HS student science investigatory projects tend to focus on the environment, including waste segregation and disposal in a residential area, household water consumption and conservation, temperature of roofs in an informal settler community, and energy conservation. A special class on Environmental Science is available to students in the Grade 8 Honors section.

“I congratulate the High School on its efforts and success in growing a green campus, where the students are taught to segregate waste, understand the workings of the environment, and reverence God’s creation,” said ADDU President Joel E. Tabora, SJ.

“Environmental protection is integral to the mission of the university, and has led us to the graduation of our first batch of Tropical Risk Management Masters in South Cotabato, the new BS Environmental Science course, and the planting of over 4,000 native trees at the University’s St. Ignatius Spirituality Center in Samal, which is currently being developed with eco-friendly structures,” Tabora added.

“We are also harnessing solar energy, which is renewable energy. The solar panels being installed in the ADDU-HS Campus will be able to provide clean, natural, and eco-friendly power,” Tabora said.

To measure the impact of the ADDU-HS Ecoteneo program on students’ environmental learning, science teachers Mr. Carlo T. Magno II and Ms. Eleanor P. Corcino, both members of the Ecoteneo core team, are conducting an action research supported by the University Research Council.

Ateneo de Davao High School was awarded the Region XI winner in the High School category on 11th November at the Grand Regal Hotel. Regional winners for the other categories were Doña Asuncion Hizon Elementary School and Davao Doctors College, both in Davao City.

The nationwide search was organized by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), in cooperation with the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and supported by private sector partners Smart Communications Inc., Nestle Philippines Inc. and One Meralco Foundation Inc. Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School, also in Matina, Davao City, was a 3rd place national winner in both 2009 and 2011.

CLEAN AND GREEN. The ADDU High School “envisions a community that is lush and verdant in greenery.” 


PERSONS FOR OTHERS AND FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. High schoolers listen as Mr. Ragam Gamboa, Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) Assistant, explains where the segregated materials go.


 Aluminum cans, paper, and PET bottles are segregated for recycling.


REDUCE, COMPOST, RECYCLE. Highschoolers monitor the waste segregation bins for residuals, biodegradables, and recyclables to ensure that the waste materials are placed in the proper bins. The students have coined a nickname for the bins, they call these “segbins”.


MOST ECO-FRIENDLY SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY. Fr. Mike Pineda SJ, ADDU-HS Principal (fifth from left) receives the Sustainable and Eco-friendly Schools award accompanied by Ms. Carmela Santos (seventh from right), Ecoteneo Director; Dr. Nina Ingle (sixth from left), high school curriculum consultant for environmental integration and member of the ADDU board of trustees; and High School faculty Ms. Joan Sayago (fifth from right), Ms. Excesima Pasilan (seventh from left), and Ms. Mary Ann Flor Quilantang (fourth from right). The award was presented by EMB Director Juan Miguel Cuna (first from left) and representatives from DepEd, CHED, SMART, Nestle Philippines, and One Meralco Foundation.