The precise date when the Guidance, Counseling and Testing Center begun could not be traced. Some years ago, old files of students’ cumulative records were found and the date written on it was in the 1950’s, implying that a guidance office already existed. Who were the persons involved and what activities were conducted related with guidance at that time could not be determined. Those cumulative records however indicate that at as early as the 1950’s, the function of guidance was mostly testing. By 1960, guidance was becoming visible. Sr. Milagros Atas, DC headed the Testing Center with the help of a student assistant. Among those who worked with Sr. Milagros from 1963 to the 70’s were Imelda Pamor, Luz Revilla, who later joined the DC community and Josie Revilla, her sister, who replaced her and stayed on as Psychometrician until she retired in 2004. The Psychological tests given were mainly entrance tests for the high school and college students. The old testing center was located at the present BED home economics building.
In 1970, to meet the needs of elementary students, Josephine Tibi-Ensano was appointed guidance counselor. She organized a more functional guidance program. For lack of professionally trained guidance counselor, Mrs. Ensano harnessed the potentials of the other activities related to guidance. In 1974, Cecile Arce took over and the counseling service was intensified. But in 1976 she left CSI. The position she vacated as guidance counselor – coordinator was occupied by Norma Quentela until 1981. Meanwhile in the secondary level, Teresita R. Bercasio was coordinator of elementary guidance in the absence of a coordinator there. She was succeeded by Editha S. Zamudio who was the guidance coordinator of the Basic Education Department until 1995.
Before 1980, the elementary and high school guidance were operating independently with separate staff and office. At the onset of the Personalized Education, an approach adopted by the school for a more effective teaching-learning, the BED (Basic Education Department) was born incorporating both elementary and secondary levels. Guidance had follow suit. It was recognized and two levels were fused as a single unit- the BED Guidance which has a common head and staff, interrelated goals and objectives and coordinated programs and activities. The HED (Higher Education Department) guidance remained independent, however, to meet the needs if the college students considering the different objectives of the various colleges and courses into which individual students enrolled.
In the tertiary level, the guidance was activated by Mercy Regalado in the late 1970’s. It was short lived though, only about a year or two. Soon after, Fr. Benjamin Ortazon, the school chaplain recognized the HED guidance. He was assisted by Ana Carullo, a high school faculty who later also became a Daughter of Charity. He was the first male guidance counselor to the growing population of Isabelinos or male college students. When Fr. Ortazon left in 1981 Teresita R. Bercasio became the HED Guidance Counselor and after obtaining a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling, she was appointed over-all head of the school’s Guidance Center. Coordinators for BED and HED were likewise appointed to work with her.
For two decades between 1987 and 2007, the HED guidance was headed successively by the following guidance coordinator: Sr. Vicky Estrella, DC, Isabelita Monte, Mary Grace Pascual, Ma. Fe Nicolasora, Editha Zamudio, Sr. Mayflor Diacuna DC, Adelaida Diezmo and Dr. Rebecca Callos. The three acted also as guidance directors for some time.
The BED guidance office formerly occupied the second floor of St. Louise de Marillac building while the HED guidance was located at the present HRD (Human Resource Development) Office.
The beginning of the new millennium ushered in a change of perspective for the guidance services of the Universidad de Sta. Isabel. A kind of merger stratification evolved wherein the three levels – lower and upper BED, the HED offices and a common testing center were relocated adjacent to one another in the same building alongside other offices for student services like the canteen, clinic, department offices, etc. It is a good strategy to make the guidance office more visible and accessible to the students.
From 2008 until 2010, Dr. Norma B. Moll served as the guidance director until she became the Associate Vice President of the Student Development Services which is the direct umbrella of the Guidance Center. During her term as the Guidance Director she introduced many innovations including changes in the physical structures and most especially the various programs and services. At present, Dr. Ramon Locson Lim is the Coordinator of the Guidance Services. A steadfast leader, he is helming the center to achieve its goals and mission, thereby providing complete service to the students.
The dear old “Colegio”, is now Universidad de Sta. Isabel has indeed journeyed a long way. Notwithstanding its 145 years of existence, she moves on youthfully catching up and coping with rapid changes and challenges of an ever restless world. The contribution of the school guidance, modest as it may seem will remain faithful to the spirit of Saint Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac whose acts of sharing, caring, assisting, healing and inspiring are but an echo and reflection of the God they believed in, loved and served.