AROUND 18 kilometers from Cebu City, there is a school run by nuns that gives hope to the sons of less privileged families from the Visayas and Mindanao.
The Sisters of Mary School (SMS) Boystown in Tungkop, Minglanilla, does its best to give free secondary education and board and lodging so these boys can have a better future not only for themselves but for their families as well.
Upon entering the school’s main office, one of the first things that a visitor will notice is its array of medals and trophies, some won from the Milo Little Olympics (MLO), which are already tainted with age. But this time, new ones are already in the mix because the school, along with its Girlstown campus in the city of Talisay, Cebu, has once again become active in sports. Starting last year, the school has returned to joining the MLO after years of hiatus.
Due to budget constraints, the school had to prioritize academics despite knowing how beneficial sports would be for the students’ growth and development.
The SMS Boystown’s return to the sporting scene started when Van Halen Parmis came into the picture in 2016.
Parmis actually came in not for sports but to help the students by donating school supplies. He realized, however, that the daunting task was too much for him to accomplish as he could not afford to provide the school supplies for the over 2,000 students enrolled.
So, the former lead scout of the University of the Visayas (UV) basketball team thought of a better way to help SMS Boystown, which was through sports.
Parmis suggested to SMS local superior Sister Emelan Lee that he wanted to put up a basketball clinic in the school. Parmis said he could remember vividly when he suggested it and Sister Lee simply said “I do not believe you.”
“Mao to ang nakapa-challenge nako,” said Parmis. (It is what challenged me.)
He then told Sister Lee that he was going to hold the clinic the very next day. On the morning of December 21, 2016, 50 students joined the basketball clinic coached by several former professional athletes, including former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) player Eliud Poligrates. He then proceeded to conduct three more basketball clinics on the next day and the days leading up to his birthday last January 9, 2017.
Since then, Parmis gained the trust of the school officials, especially Sister Lee. And since then, SMS Boystown’s sporting program has come to life.
Other than successfully competing in the MLO, the school will now be joining as a guest team in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. SMS will also represent Cebu Province in arnis and athletics in the Batang Pinoy National Finals in Baguio City from Sept. 15 to 21.