The Aparri School of Arts and Trades (ASAT) is a Techno-Vocational High School under the Department of Education (DepEd) founded in 1928. Since the school’s creation, alumni reunions were held irregularly in small groups. In order to create an organized entity for the alumni, the Aparri School of Arts and Trades Alumni Association, Inc. (AAAI) was established, registered as a corporation with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on December 4, 2012. Founded by Architect Fred F. Castañeda, (Class of 1966), the AAAI balances social activities and humanitarian services for the alumni and school. In its creation, ASAT alumni from Class of 1954 through Class of 2012 shared their ideas and resources in formulating the AAAI Constitution and By-Laws and Core Program Guidelines. Furthermore, a group of magnanimous alumni and benefactors formed the “AAAI Founding Directors,” boosting the initial funds of the Association. For its initial project, AAAI constructed and donated a new restroom building. Core programs such as the AAAI Scholarship Program for ASAT Students and Medical and Dental Services for alumni and their families were likewise initiated.
On December 20 to 22, 2013, AAAI was inaugurated with a Grand Homecoming at the ASAT campus attended by alumni and their families from all over the world. The founding officers were led by Architect Fred Castañeda as President, Engineer Bernardino Almazan (Class of 1967) as Vice-President, Dr. Flor Callangan Laribee (Class of 1966) as Secretary, and Mrs. Nelia Aquino Seredon (Class of 1967) as Treasurer. For this occasion, a temporary “Bamboo Gym” was built and coordinated by then Principal Eleazar Rabaja. The Inaugural Speaker was Dr. Manuel N. Mamba, then the Legislative Liaison Secretary to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. During this event, the founding officers requested Secretary Mamba’s assistance to build an ASAT Gymnasium replacing the temporary “Bamboo Gym.” In 2017, the ASAT Gymnasium/Multi-Purpose Building was built and inaugurated by Governor Manuel N. Mamba.
Since its inception, AAAI has adapted to the changing needs of the alumni and school by expanding its core programs as follows:
- The AAAI Scholarship Program now includes Academic and Endowment scholarship, sponsoring students from Grade 7 thru Grade 12.
- The Medical and Dental Services for the alumni and their families are conducted every two years at the ASAT Campus. Prescription medicines are also provided.
- The Alumni Discount Program, was started where alumni get discounts on services and goods from participating businesses.
- The Visiting Alumni Symposium Program was established, where visiting alumni as resource speakers share varied topics of interest to ASAT students.
- The yearly AAAI homecoming activities continue to bring alumni from different countries in joyous reunion and renewed camaraderie. However, this event was temporarily suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to its core programs, AAAI provides numerous short and long-term projects for the school where officers initiate specific projects during their terms of office. Under the leadership of President Rodolfo Tolentino in 2014-2015, the Scholarship Program was implemented; the first Medical-Dental Services was held and Trade Tools, Emergency Generator, Two-Way Radios were given to ASAT. In 2015-2017, Smart TV for each classroom was provided under President Janet Bacunana. During President Elizabeth Escandor’s Term in 2017-2018, she increased sponsorship to the AAAI Scholarship Program. President Teresita Somera, in 2018-2019, upgraded the Alumni ID, implemented the Alumni Discount Program and the Visiting Alumni Symposium Program. To link all alumni all over the world and raise ASAT’s institutional profile, the AAAI Officers and Board of Trustees in 2019-2020 thru the leadership of President Rex L. Navarro invested on the creation of a new ASAT website with links to the PTA and AAAI. The officers also launched a fund-raising campaign “PONDO TI AAAI” to support projects of the Association.
Moreover, the lot occupied by ASAT allocated by TESDA in 1997 is now being titled on orders of Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña, Director General of TESDA through the joint effort of Gen Roberto Magaoay Damian (Ret.), incumbent President of the AAAI for 2020-2022 together with the Officers and members of the Board of Trustees and the present Principal of ASAT Dr. Nimfa A. Alagao. In addition, TESDA-API through the approval of Dr. Renato Ubina, present Administrator, has allowed the use of a big size of their campus for use of ASAT to construct additional buildings including the joint use of the athletic oval as a result of the request of Dr. Alagao and the AAAI.
As AAAI continues to grow, each year’s change of Officers and Board of Trustees provides opportunities for all batches to further enhance the Association’s goals and expand its services to the alumni and students. This way, AAAI sustains the pursuit of its vision towards a united and committed alumni for a stronger ASAT – a school that offers quality technical-vocational education producing globally competitive graduates.