Thank You to a Beloved Marist Servant Leader

May 15, 2020 is indeed a red-letter day for the entire Marist School Family as it bids farewell to its beloved school president of six years, Br. Niño Pizarro, FMS and takes the opportunity to thank him not only for his invaluable and tremendous contribution to the school community but, more importantly, his gift of servant leadership.

The school was celebrating its Golden Jubilee in 2014 when Br. Niño’s presidency commenced. Guided by the theme Ever Grateful, Forever Hopeful, he led the community in a year-long celebration with meaningful and significant activities that included, among others, the commissioning and launching of the coffee table book “Thy Name Sublime” written by alumnus Ruel S. De Veyra of Batch 1990; the grand opening ceremonies in June 2014 and the closing ceremonies in February 2015; the strategic planning of the school’s directions and programs for the next five years (2015 – 2020); and the revisiting and consequent revision of the school’s vision and mission.

But as 2014 was dotted with jubilant celebrations, so was it marked by one of the most momentous changes in the Philippine educational landscape.  The Enhanced Basic Education Law of 2013 ushered the looming prospect of two additional years in high school.  Leading the transition into the uncharted territory of Senior High School, Br. Niño bravely committed resources to the construction of the multi-million Senior High School building while at the same time commissioning people to form the curricular body of the program.

In addition, when the Senior High School Department finally opened its first classes on June 13, 2016 Marist School welcomed 302 coed enrollees—marking the very first time in its history that young ladies were admitted into its regular high school.

The year 2017 was another milestone year not only for the Marikina community of Marist, but also that of its global family as it marked the 200th founding anniversary of Marist Institute, having been started by St. Marcellin Champagnat in 1817. Br. Niño led the footsteps of Marist School Marikina delegates in their pilgrimage to Italy and France where they renewed their vocation by immersing themselves in the significant places that had been part of St. Marcellin’s life. As a meaningful celebration of the Institute’s foundation, the Marikina community welcomed more students in its Afternoon Shift Program with the addition of another Grade 7 class, which then continued in the other grade levels in the years that followed.

Although Br. Niño had held other administrative positions prior to being the president of the Marist School, he considers such a role as a challenging mission. In an interview in 2018, he shared, “It does not only take qualifications and competencies but it takes skills on how to deal with different types of people in the workplace. I think my sense of professionalism has been helping me to overcome the challenge. I always update myself with the new trends in educational leadership and management.”

His educational leadership has truly helped Marist School under his term. A stalwart of quality Christian education and quality control, Br. Niño made sure the school maintained its high standards as the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) granted Level 3 re-accreditation to the grade school and junior high school departments after their respective re-surveys in 2017 and 2019. Additionally, the spirit of St. Marcellin’s charism continues to be alive in the community after two visits from the Marist Education Committee in 2014 and 2018.

He is also a true scholar as he is currently finishing his post graduate studies to earn a PhD degree at the De La Salle University in Manila. He has also published That We May Remember: Saint Marcellin Champagnat, Founder, Marist Brothers of the Schools, and Principles of Marist Education in 2019, which revitalized the core values of the institution that would further help it produce value-laden graduates who are active in nation-building.

Br. Niño also made sure to update the physical facilities of Marist School to add efficiency and sustainability in its system as a response to the emerging trends in the 21st century. The most remarkable of which might as well be the installation of solar photovoltaic rooftop systems atop the grade school and senior high school buildings launched in 2019. Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro even lauded the initiative of the school and was inspired to the same for the city. Other facilities that were built and updated under Br. Niño’s term include the Jubilee Garden, the Marist School façade, junior high school laboratories and workshops, the parking area, and a walkway in the Marist Gym area. All these became possible with the help of other organizations and professionals.

He has also proven himself to be a man of sports, being an enthusiast of tennis, volleyball, and basketball among others. Br. Niño was also one to actively participate in leagues and fun games together with the personnel, teaching them discipline and perseverance inside the court. His love for sports even strengthened the name of the school in the field as it hosted the Marist East Asia Basketball Tournament in 2018 and has been the official home court of the Marikina Shoemasters for the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

In one of his last memos to the school personnel, he never shied away his gratefulness to the community. “I thank everybody for all the things that had been—gift of persons and commitment to the administration and the entire Marist School during the last six years.”

The Marist School Family is ever forever grateful for Br. Niño’s unwavering strength, firm principles, warm association, and genuine service that have become his hallmark as a servant leader in the name of St. Marcellin Champagnat.