Arayat Institute was founded in 1932 by the visionary businessman Emilio A. Santos. A sugar planter, he was, at one time, the municipal president of the town, a stockholder of the Arayat Sugar Central, and a leading figure in business and finance in the province. The school was designed by Architect Vicente Pascual and was built at a cost of P7,000 on land donated by the parents of Emilio A. Santos. The landed Santos family were well known for their philanthropic work; long before the plan to erect the institute, they had been supporting the Anderson Intermediate School.
After the building’s construction, the Santoses then equipped the schools with donations of library books and laboratory equipment. In the first year of operations, the school did not offer a full 4 year course; it was only in the calendar year 1933-1934 that it established its 4th year class. The initial number of students were just 51 in High School and 40 students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 classes, all culled from the youths of Arayat, Sta. Ana and nearby Cabiao, Nueva Ecija. To attract more students, instructions were given in English and scholarships were granted to school valedictorians. The school also conducted free lessons in Spanish for all enrollees.
At the time of the school’s first year of operations, Emilio A. Santos headed the Board of Trustees as President. His brother, Canuto was a Director. Members included Dr. Esteban Medina, Dr. Emigdio C. Cruz, Donato Kabigting and Toribio Kabigting. Pioneer teachers of Arayat Institute were Alejandro Timbol (B.S.E.), Jose M. Tinio (B.A., M. Sc.,) Ana Polintan (B.S.E.) and Rufina Canlas for the Kindergarten Department.
One of the school’s most illustrious alumni is the former Executive Secretary of Pres. Diosdado P. Macapagal and ambassador to Washington, Hon. Amelito “Mel” Mutuc. Today, Arayat Institute is still in operations, continuing its tradition of providing excellent general secondary course to the youths of Pampanga, and, after 7 decades of service, it has finally taken its well deserved place among the respected private institutions in the Philippines.
(26 July 2003)