2017, June 22, St. Stephen's High School Centennial
Litho Offset, Amstar Printing Company, Inc.,
Se-tenant Pairs, Miniature Sheets of 8
12p High School Building
12p Elementary School Building
Miniature Sheets of 8 (12,625)
First Day Covers: Manila
ST. STEPHEN'S HIGH SCHOOL CENTENNIAL -
1917 - 2017
St. Stephen's High School is
considered the first Christian Chinese School in Luzon, Philippines.
Its story began in St. Stephen's
Church of Manila which was established in 1903 and run by the
American Episcopal Mission in the Philippines headed by Bishop
Charles Henry Brent.
In line with the church's goal of
providing a place of worship and guiding the Manila Chinese
residents into becoming a Christian community, the idea of opening a
night school for young men was first hatched and brought to fruition
in 1905. It operated until 1909.
It was then when church leaders
observed that there were several schools where boys studied, but
none where girls enrolled. Education for girls became a primary
goal. Thus, was born St. Stephen's Chinese Girls' School on July 22,
1917, known as Seng Kong Hoe in the Chinese community.
On December 8, 1941, the school
operations came to an abrupt halt due to the invasion of the
Philippines by the Japanese upon the outbreak of the Pacific War.
The school compound was eventually sealed off by the Japanese
military and the mission house was turned over to a Japanese
doctor-director of St. Luke's Hospital. The occupants were forced to
move out and the rooms were used for Japanese civilian patients.
The Americans and British among the
school staff became prisoners of war and were interned at the
University of Santo Tomas compound. The
mission house was later taken over by Chinese guerilla units and
used as headquarters during liberation.
After the war, a period of healing
ensued. The challenge to recover, rebuild and reorganize required
much dedication. Government-required incorporation and recognition
papers were reconstructed and re-filed. School reopened in December
The first full-term school year since
the 1941 disruption opened in July 1946, remarkably with 500
children. Their number quickly grew to 900. Many other schools had
remained closed and accommodations for the enrollment of girls and
boys, unschooled for almost five years, became the St. Stephen's
Girls' School's service to the community and contribution to
nation-building. In the words
of the 1947 yearbook celebrating the 30th anniversary, the school
community came together to offer prayers of thanks and praise to God
for the divine blessing of surviving the war that had brought so
By then, the school was officially
been renamed St. Stephen's High School. This development relieved
the young male students of the perceived stigma and embarrassment of
belonging to a so-called girls' school. The school resumed its
normal activities and was back on track in no time.
St. Stephen's High School story is a
testament to the faithfulness of God. The school's history is also a
tribute to the original founders who had the vision to provide good
education and teach about God's love to students. The long lists of
educators, leaders from the School Board, the Alumni and St.
Stephen's Parish, as well as workers throughout the 100 years have
seen to it that the founders' noble intention and worthy goals have
not been forgotten. The same vision shall continue to inspire each
new generation of the St. Stephen's community in the years to come.