College visits Samar Region in the Philippines

July 23, 2019

HVCC staff are welcomed to the Philippines by members of the Eastern Visayas State University

Judy DiLorenzo, interim vice president for Academic Affairs, Toni Howard, Teacher Preparation department chair, and Regina LaGatta, executive director of External and Government Relations, will join alumnus Joe Mara on a week-long visit (July 19 - 26) to the Visayas Region of Samar in the Philippines, where Mara leads a philanthropic group called Support Samar Schools. The group will explore educational partnerships in the region and provide training to teachers in the area.

Mara, who was the class of 1972 Student Senate president, credits Hudson Valley Community College for his successful career as a vice president for Merrill Lynch International Financial Services. During his most recent visit to campus in November 2018, he made a donation to create the Joseph P. Mara ’72 and Christine McNaughton Mara Performing Arts Series. Mara also discussed Support Samar Schools (SSS), planting the seeds for this collaborative trip, and the potential for partnerships in the Philippines.

Since its founding, Support Samar Schools has built seven elementary schools in an impoverished region of the Philippines, where educational opportunities and basic health services are extremely scarce. Mara recognized that Hudson Valley Community College could share expertise in both areas. (Since none of the seven school sites has running water or electricity, the possibility for a future solar installation project that could involve Hudson Valley faculty and students is being discussed.)

During this trip, DiLorenzo and Howard will participate in a Teacher Workshop Day in the Villa Real School District, accepting the invitation of Superintendent Marina Magan. More than 500 teachers and administrators will attend sessions on dental health care and approaches for teaching non-readers. The day-long event will conclude with a dinner with Dr. Magan and school personnel hosted by SSS.

Mara and LaGatta will visit high schools within the Villa Real School District to talk to junior and seniors, who are eager to learn about career education opportunities, especially in technology fields, at Hudson Valley. SSS awards four scholarships each year that help deserving students attend college in the United States.

Meetings and a luncheon with Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) President Dominador Aquire, Jr. and Samar State University President, Dr. Marilyn D. Cardoso, and their administrative teams also are on the trip itinerary. The group will tour the main campus of both universities, as well as visit five EVSU and three Samar State satellite campuses. (EVSU is the oldest higher education institution in the Eastern Visayas region, and each university offers programs in Education, Engineering and Technology, Trades, Craftsman and Entrepreneurship.)

Other planned events are a discussion with the town mayor, Barangay public officials and prominent community leaders at Bassey National High School, to be followed by a ceremony to celebrate the new school improvements and the monetary donations provided by SSS. At this time, the Hudson Valley team will present “refurbished” laptops for the newly-constructed computer lab, as well as college t-shirts for the senior class.

With the support of the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation and Dental Hygiene Program’s corporate sponsors, the travel team will deliver dental health supplies, new children books, chess and checker board sets (as requested by the teachers) and HVCC S.W.A.G. to the seven elementary schools.

Special thanks to all the departments – Dental Hygiene, Teacher Preparation, Student Services, Athletics and Faculty Student Association – for the generous donations of teaching materials, dental supplies, t-shirts and other gifts for the children of Samar!

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