Saint Michael Academy (Catarman)

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St. Michael Academy
Catarman, Northern Samar, 6400
The Philippines
School type Private Dominican
Motto "In the Service of Truth"; "Passion for Truth and Compassion for Humanity (Contemplata Alis Tradere)"
Denomination Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s) St. Michael the Archangel and all Dominican saints
Established 1946
Founder Bishop Miguel Acebedo, DD
Authority Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena - Philippines
Principal Sr. Felicidad C. Lipio, OP
Language English; Filipino; Waray-Waray
Classrooms 15
Nickname Michaelians; SMAers
Newspaper The Veritas
Yearbook Michaelians Are We

St. Michael Academy, a private, sectarian, non-stock secondary school, is the first and the only Catholic learning institution established in the heart of Catarman, capital town of historical Northern Samar, owned and operated by the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena - The Philippines; thus, the only Dominican educational institution found in the Samar - Leyte region operating since 1946.



It was in June 1946, when the Prioress General of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena, Rev. Mo. Natividad Pilapil, OP, received another invitation from the Bishop of the Diocese of Calbayog, Most Rev. Miguel Acebedo, DD. The request was to open a school in Catarman that would be of great help to the Church’s mission of teaching its doctrines and practicing its morals. In answer to the request of the good Bishop, the prioress general instructed three Sisters assigned in La Milagrosa Academy in Calbayog City, Samar to proceed to Catarman and administer the opening of a new school. Immediately after receiving the orders, Mo. Teresita Hacbang, OP, Sr. Ma Rosa Santiago, OP, Sr. Magdalena Quisay, OP and two working students left for Catarman via Carangian [now San Jose, Northern Samar].

July 1946, a new school was founded. And in grateful appreciation for Bishop Miguel Acebedo, the newly established school was named Saint Michael Academy. To help the Sisters in the opening of the classes, a Board of Directors was created with Atty. Mariano Singzon as president, and benign members Rev. Fr. Potenciano Ortega, the parish priest of Catarman, Don Ignacio Lahorra, Señor Bernabe Figueroa, Señor Francisco Arraiza and Judge Alberto Lim. Some kindhearted families also lent some tables and chairs to the Sisters. Since there was no existing building yet for the students and for the Sisters, Mrs. Vicenta Balite and Señor Joaquin Cardenas offered part of their houses to be used as classrooms for the incoming students and for the Sisters’ temporary convent for almost two years.

Saint Michael Academy, the pioneer in tertiary and basic education in Catarman, opened its door on July 7, 1946. The first teaching staff was composed of Mo. Teresita, OP as head of the school, Sr. Ma Rosa, OP, Sr. Magdalena, OP and four lay BSE instructors. During the summer of 1948, SMA successfully produced 17 pioneer graduates in high school.

Also in the year 1948, a parcel of land near the church was leased by the good Bishop to the Congregation where the existing location of the school is situated up to this day. And the school decided to open college with courses: Associate in Arts and Elementary Teacher’s Certificate and elementary level; thus, changing the institution’s name to St. Michael Junior College. Only after a year, on April 28, 1949, SMJC conferred, for the first time in the history of northern-part of Samar Island, the degree of Associate in Arts to Jose “Peping” Figueroa, Lucia Reyes-Olmedo and nine others.


During the 1950s, more and more innovations and remarkable accomplishments were completed and realized. It was on April 1952 that SMJC produced its 21 pioneer graduates in elementary together with the 26 graduates in college, awarded with the degree in Elementary Teacher’s Certificate. Unfortunately, it was also in this era that the school decided to phase out the college department due to dearth of resources and manpower. In 1957, 2 wooden structures were constructed: the Sisters’ Convent and a 2 floor school building adjacent to the church.


In the 1960s, the original name of the school was again used, Saint Michael Academy. The 60’s was the celebrated days of SMA. It officially earned its name as one of the most prestigious Catholic institutions in Samar Island. At this time, SMA started to win awards and receive recognitions.


The 1970s was a time filled with uncertainties and fear. Martial law was declared but it did not deter SMA’s pursuit of passing on the excitement of learning, based on Christian principles. SMA did its share of instilling to the minds of our people, the value of freedom, good governance and the influence of unity to the country. Sad to say, during this period the elementary level was decided to be discontinued due to small number of enrollees. In total, the SMA elementary department produced 314 graduates since its opening in the school year 1951-1952. By this time SMA became an exclusive high school which has an increasing enrollment. Also, SMA became popular for sports particularly in basketball in this period.


During the 1980s rock, punk and rap music coupled with extraordinary fashion sense flourished. At this time, SMA was struggling to reinvent itself to suit to the ever-changing and challenging phase of education and the new generation of learners the school has.

After the revolution, SMA became one of the centers of excellence in Samar both in academics, culture, sports and the arts, showcasing its diverse talents and academic potentials not only in the provincial level but competing also in the region. SMA also became part of the Diocese of Catarman’s history when it celebrated its 10th year anniversary as a Diocese by staging a show in 1985.

As the new government was installed, a new 2 floor building was proposed by Sr. Patricia Aguilar, OP, and during the late 80’s the new building was inaugurated, now the St. Dominic Building.


1990’s was a decade full of pleasant surprises and jubilation and firsts. The enrollment rose dramatically. The school’s population even reached a thousand which resulted to insufficient classrooms and other school facilities. As a result, another 2-storey building was constructed, now the St. Catherine Building, through the effort of Sr. Florencia Cabañog, OP. It houses some of the Administrative Offices, the Faculty Room, the Science Laboratory, the Learning Resource Center, the Computer Laboratory, the School Clinic and the Guidance Office. There were many scholarships offered then, from the government, alumni, private persons and agencies. But in late 90’s, the enrollment gradually decreased again because of the free education in the public school.

It was in February 27, 1994 when SMA Alumni Foundation, Inc was officially founded that grants scholarship for the children of the needy alumni among others and spearheaded the very first Grand Alumni Homecoming which was held on October 1, 1994 to pool together its graduates after 48 glorious years.

April 1994 was the beginning of the Summer Operation Head-start that orients new students with certain subject areas in preparation for the incoming school year.

SMA brought home the bacon from different competitions such as brain and beauty contests, science-math camps, quiz bees, cultural dance contests and the unbeatable SMA drum and lyre corps. Students passing the NCEE 100% passing for 5 consecutive years is an honor of the school, and school year 1994-1995 is the 6th year of passing the standardized test conducted by the Department of Education (former DECS); thus, it made SMA to rank 1st in the NSAT among secondary schools in the Division of Northern Samar and was listed as among the 250 top performing secondary school nationwide for NSAT.

Due to the implementation of K+12 policy of the Department of Education as a reform in our national educational system starting school year 2012-2013, the need for the construction of another building, now the Mother Francisca Building, to house additional classrooms, the bookstore and supplies store and the transfer of the canteen has been initiated through the untiring leadership of Sr. Meriza Ocampo, OP.

Presently, the school has a total enrolment of more than 750 students, under the watchful concern of 4 Dominican Sisters with satisfactory number of personnel. It boasts 2 two-floor buildings, a new three-floor building, a bigger multi-purpose hall, a student lounge, a Computer Laboratory with 50 units of computer, all with Internet access, an enhanced library and a Chapel among others.

Many innovations in the School’s curriculum were also implemented since its foundation: this is to address the students varying needs as well as to keep up with the technological advancement of the world. The latest innovations of the school are the integration of Computer-aided Instruction with Internet access in all subject areas from first year to fourth year and the adoption of the revised Basic Education Curriculum with Religion as the core subject being a Catholic and a Dominican – Siena School.

The school had also undergone Congregational Evaluation Visit 1 in February 1995 and Congregational Evaluation Visit 2 in February 2000. These series of evaluation visits are in preparation for the school to be a PAASCU Accredited School in the near future. During the school year 2003-2004 under Sr. Trinidad Garcia, OP, the SMA was rated ABOVE STANDARD and was recognized as ONE of the EXCELLENT SCHOOLS in Region VIII by the ESC Certifying Team sent by the DepEd and FAPE Regional Offices. Last November 2008, a re-assessment was concluded by the same offices and once again, the school was rated as an ABOVE STANDARD school.

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