In 1975, after playing with some underprivileged boys who could not afford to go to high school, Fr. James O’Brien S.J. founded the TD or Tulong Dunong (which literally meant “help by knowledge”). He organized privileged students to help educate other students from public schools. Some public school students were even fortunate to get exclusive education from prestigious high schools. After graduating from college, these same students, touched by Tulong Dunong, took part in the program, continued the helping process, and freed themselves from poverty.
This is the inspiration Sir Var had when he established High Horizons. The school name, after all, was borrowed from TD’s Higher Horizons (Hi-Ho) program. Public school students, who show the intellectual potential to be accepted to prestigious high schools, are placed into this program. These Hi-Ho kids eventually become Ateneo de Manila, Miriam (formerly Maryknoll), and St. Scholastica's high school scholars.
In the same way student-teachers touches the lives of their Hi-Ho kids, Sir Var also dreams of sending children from his own community into a school dedicated to touching the lives of families. High Horizons Learning Center seeks to create for children and parents an atmosphere of trust, love and understanding in a safe learning environment.
Part of this atmosphere is a holistic approach in a child’s education. Teachers and parents are integral part of this approach. High Horizons does not only focus on the child’s cognitive and psychomotor development, but also on the teachers’ teaching competency and the parents’ parenting knowledge. This is the reason why High Horizons creates venues where best teaching practices and real-life parent experiences are shared in meaningful seminar-workshops facilitated by professional resource speakers.
When Fr. O’Brien founded Tulong Dunong, he wanted to help underprivileged students get an education. He might not have dreamt that all TD students get into prestigious schools; but, his commitment to touch children’s lives through education was steadfast. True to this same spirit of charity, High Horizons accepts students as scholars. It is the hope of the school that by giving scholarships, children from underprivileged families will learn to grow into good citizens, help others in the process, and eventually free themselves and their families from poverty.
There exists now two Hi-Ho’s. Although their worlds are very different from each other, both share a common vision, where a new cycle of progress is based on the principles of charity and social justice.