Children of school age in this barangay hardly go beyond the second grade. Factors such as financial difficulties, an unforgiving terrain leading to the nearest school, obligations at an early age render access to basic education a daunting challenge.
Last March 21, 2011 Barangay Balete, Sta. Fe town, and the province of Nueva Vizcaya had reason to celebrate. The Tan Yan Kee Elementary School was inaugurated and is ready to take in a hundred or so enrollees for June.
Named after the late father of industrialist and philanthropist Lucio C. Tan, the Tan Yan Kee Foundation celebrates its silver anniversary this year coinciding with the 100th birth anniversary of Tan Yan Kee, who passed away in 1994. Thus, the elementary school is a fitting gift to Balete, Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya from the Foundation and named in honor of the man who valued education and the environment—passing on the same fervor to his children.
Seeing the crying need for facilities, equipment, and teaching staff the Foundation networked with several government and non-government partners for a pilot elementary school that not only provides schooling but technology, solar power, and E-TV as well. The effort not only connects the far-flung school and its population to the web but also teaches environmentally-sound practices such as the initial planting of mahogany and narra seedlings for 500 trees in the vicinity of the school.
Also serving as venue for the Alternative Learning System or ALS of the Department of Education, the Tan Yan Kee Elementary School was provided with ALS modules for 49 out-of-school youth and adult learners.
Present during the inauguration were committed partners in the private and public sectors whose community spirit or the age-old Filipino tradition of the bayanihan was evident all throughout the conceptualization and building of the school.
Municipal Mayor Tedorico DP Padilla, Jr. opened the ceremonies, which also featured the Kalanguya Tribe in a Cañao Ceremony and a tribal dance. Tan Yan Kee Foundation Vice Chairman and Trustee Harry C. Tan delivered an inspirational message that emphasized the value of education, concern for the environment, and the bayanihan spirit. Department of Education Undersecretary Yolanda Quijano accepted the turnover of the school and committed to its responsibility of providing quality education, together with the principal, teachers, and DepEd officials present.
A commemorative marker and the solar power switch-on signal a new and bright phase for Balete. The modern-day bayanihan, spearheaded by the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, Inc., was made possible through the following partners: Fortune Tobacco Corporation, Eton Properties Philippines, Inc., Lopez group Foundation, First Philec Solar Solutions, Sunpower, the Department of Education, DENR, DOTC, Province of Nueva Vizcaya, Town of Sta. Fe, Barangay Balete, Allied Bank, Asia Brewery, Inc., Globe Telecom, Pan Asia Securities Corp., Philippine Airlines, PNB, Tanduay Distillers, Inc., University of the East, Greeners Association, and IBPS.