PRESS RELEASE

SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE - “A Century of Education and Learning: Honor the Past, Cherish the Present, Inspire the Future” is the theme of the Centennial celebration of St. Mary’s School of Sagada (SMSS).




SMSS will culminate the year-long centennial celebration on December 8, 2012. The highlight of the festivity is the unveiling and blessing of the bust of REV. JOHN A. STAUNTON, which is erected on Sagada's first memorial park constructed at Mabbay Curve, Nangonogan, Sagada. It will be con-celebrated by the congregation of the Episcopal Church led by the Diocesan Bishop, and the “dap-ay” (tribunal) leaders of the village.

Rev. Staunton is anAmerican missionary who came to Sagada in 1904 and founded the EpiscopalMission here. He had an engineering degree when he graduated from the General Theological Seminary in New York, USA. Within 20 years in Sagada, he achieved an engineer’s dream that would transform Sagada into “a little Christian metropolis”. He built the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, the Sagada Mission School (now St. Mary’s School of Sagada), and St. Theodore’s Hospital. When the American colonial government began the construction of the Mountain Trail (later Halsema Highway), Rev. Staunton opened the Dantay-Sagada Road to ensure that Sagada and neighboring communities are linked to the highways. The Dantay-Sagada Road is now officially named as the “REV. JOHN A. STAUNTON ROAD”.

“This celebration will mark a historic event in the church and the community”, said Ms. Soledad Belingon, SMS Class ’51, one of the oldest alumni of St. Mary’s School who taught for more than 30 years in her alma mater. “Rev. Staunton came to introduce Christianity to a village with pagan beliefs and started to educate people living in the midst of warring tribes. We owe our progress in life and the beginnings of our community to Rev. Staunton and all missionaries who came after him."

To commemorate Rev. Staunton’s life and works, the people of Sagada will partake in a community potluck, organized by the stakeholders of St. Mary’s School, after a Thanksgiving high mass at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, following the unveiling ceremony at the memorial park.

Comparable to the massive foundations of the great stone church, Rev. John A. Staunton’s legacy – asengineer, priest and servant of God- will remain with us for generations to come.