Divina Pastora College was born out of a long-felt need -- a high school more accessible to students from the poblacion as the only high school in Gapan at that time was one kilometer away, and one that would develop not only the mind and the body but the spirit as well. Encouraged by the late Rev. Msgr. Pacifico Araullo who had put up a school in his parish in Cabanatuan City, the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Paterno E. Bernabe, Gapan parish priest, and a group of prominent lay leaders -- among them Marta Cuison, Dr. Benedicto C. Cabañes, Doña Maria Payawal, Mayor Manuel Mallare and Judge Manolo Reyes -- decided to open Gapan's parochial high school.
In 1958, The group sought and received permission from the late Archbishop Emilio Cinense of San Fernando, Pampanga, whose diocese then had jurisdiction over Gapan, to put up the Divina Pastora Academy (DPA), named after the town's patron saint. After complying with the legal requirements, the Bureau of Private Schools of the Department of Education authorized the opening of the school's first and second year levels in 1959, and the third and fourth year levels the following year.
At the start of the operation of DPA, Msgr. Bernabe, as the school director, invited the CFIC Sisters from St. Joseph's College in Quezon City to help run the school. The sisters came over and converted the parish rectory partly as their living quarters and partly as school building. Many older alumni still fondly remember the names of those pioneer teachers -- the soft-spoken Mother Bernadette, the musically-minded Sister Alacoque, the feisty Sister Nicoleta Datayan, the school's first principal, who struck fear among the students despite her small physique, and Miss Paz Esquivel, a lay teacher.
In 1960, the Kindergarten Department was opened with Sr. Henriette Palomike as its first teacher
In 1967, the school administration opted to widen the academy's service to high school graduates from poor families who wanted to pursue higher education. Antonio Santiago, the assistant principal, together with some Franciscan Sisters sought permission from the Bureau of Private Schools to open baccalaureate degree courses in Arts, Education, Commerce and Junior Secretarial. Thus, the College Department was created, receiving its authority to operate in 1968. With this came a change in the name of the school to Divina Pastora College (DPC). Msgr. Bernabe, after serving the parish for some three decades, voluntarily resigned as school head due to his advanced age and failing health. The Bishop of Cabanatuan, Vicente P. Reyes, assigned the Rev. Fr. Lamberto Bundoc to take over as school director.
The leadership of DPC changed as new parish priests took over, whose duties included running the parochial college.
In 1977, the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Jesus B. Estonilo assumed the college presidency and worked for the opening of the Elementary Department, a requirement for the education courses offered in the College Department. Grades I, II and III were allowed to open with Sister Mary Rose Olivar as the first head, and Agripina Lucredo and Eufemiana Gomez as the first teachers. By the time Gades 4, 5 and 6 were added, Sister Mary Rose had to be transferred to a new assignment. Layman Luisito B. Estrella was tapped to replace her as grade school principal.
In 1980, Fr. Lamberto Bundoc was asked to lead DPC for the second time. He stayed on until 1986 when he was replaced by Msgr. Felix Hernandez. When the Franciscan Sisters decided to pull out from the school, Msgr. Hernandez promoted Estrella as principal of both the Elementary and High School Departments, with Cornelia Buenaventura as Assistant Principal.
During the term of Msgr. Luciano Gueco who had succeeded Msgr. Hernandez, the need for the services of the religious sisters was felt. Taking heed, the Bishop Sofio G. Balce turned to Rev. Fr. Onet Mangahas and the Congregation of Sisters of the Augustinian Missionaries of the Philippines (AMP). Rennovations were made and innovations were introduced. This was faithfully carried out by the next director Msgr. Felipe Dayao Jr. in 1997. These moves revived the school's spirit, and brought about an atmosphere of camaraderie and unity in the school community.
In June 2005 Rev. Fr. Jose Elmer I. Mangalinao became the school director with Atty, Emilita PortilLo as College Acting-Dean, Mrs. Annaline DC. Ondrade as High School Principal and Mr. Luisito B. Estrella as Pre/Elem Principal. The administration focuses in constructing a new building for the High School Department. With the help of the whole community this dream came true. In 2007, the construction of the first floor of new the L- building was finished.
In June 2008, a new set of Administrative Council headed by Rev. Fr. Antonio A. Mangahas Jr. School Director , Mrs. Annaline DC. Ondrade, Acting Dean, Ms. Vina S. Palomo, High School Principal and Mrs. Gloria Rovillos, Acting Pre/Elem Principal the Divina Pastora College, strengthen the existing programs of the institution.
In October 2010, the school was chosen to be the Cluster Center of La Virgen Divina Pastora Cluster, a network of 6 interdependent Catholic schools headed by Rev. Fr. Elmer S. Villamayor. At present, the institution continues to grow, but remains focused on its task of preparing the young men and women of Gapan and even neighboring towns to be of service to society, the country and God.
DPC is a Catholic institution of learning established primarily to be an agent of evangelization. With religion at the core of its curriculum it seeks to provide its clientele with genuine experiences in living Christian lives, thereby producing competent, committed and Christian Filipino citizens.
Adhering to the philosophy that education is both a need and a privilege of the individual and as such must be geared towards a preparation for life, the school aims to transform him/her into a total person-imbued with the proper skills, knowledge and values, aware of his/her social and moral obligations, and always a mature, loving and responsible child of God.
Towards this end, DPC shall provide through its various academic and non-academic offerings an ideal atmosphere that is conducive to maximum learning and assimilation of Christian values and attitude.
HISTORY OF DIVINA PASTORA COLLEGE
Vintage Photo of Divina Pastora College
Msgr. Paterno E. Bernabe, School Founder
The newly opened College Department accepts enrolees
Students eagerly monitor school election results
Members of the DPC community gather for school anniversary rites
PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION