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From History to Inspiration: Jay Sanidad’s Little Manila Rising Experience

From+History+to+Inspiration%3A+Jay+Sanidad%E2%80%99s+Little+Manila+Rising+Experience

EDIT 11/27: The founders of Little Manila was corrected to Dawn Mabalon and Dillon Delvo.

EDIT 11/27: Joy Rialubin-Trejo’s name was corrected and a quote was added to the end.

Little Manila Rising, a program founded by Dawn Mabalon and Dillon Delvo in the thriving city of South-Side Stockton, California,  is redefining the narrative of Filipino-American history. This program has become a guiding beacon in Jay Sanidad’s own journey of cultural rediscovery, a Filipino-American teacher at Stagg High School who is firmly anchored in education. Little Manila After School Program, one of the programs of Little Manila Rising, not only helped Sanidad reconnect with the roots of Filipino-American culture but also significantly influenced his teaching philosophy, creating a powerful impact on both him and his students.

The Little Manila After School Program (LMASP), has become more than a place of learning; it’s a gateway to cultural rediscovery. For Sanidad, the journey into this immersive program began unexpectedly when a friend persuaded him to join, initially lured by the prospect of a shared ride home. Little did he know that this seemingly serendipitous encounter would become a transformative experience. He delved into the program’s offerings, uncovered a trove of stories and experiences that unveiled the rich history of Filipino-Americans in Stockton. 

Sanidad said, “The program really taught me about the value and the rich history of Filipinos in Stockton.” The program challenged and changed his perspective of Stockton. He further explained how he became critically conscious and aware and also celebrated himself as a “Filipino-American South-Side Stocktonian” as he puts it. 

Describing it as a cycle, Sanidad emphasized the evolving open-mindedness of students, fostering awareness and appreciation for the fascinating history, which he believes is crucial for passing down to the next generation. Today, Sanidad stands as a beacon of cultural enlightenment in the classrooms of Stagg, where he imparts his knowledge as a dedicated educator. Specializing in ethnics studies, Sanidad’s journey into teaching extends beyond the confines of textbooks. His passion for education, ignited and fueled by his experiences with the LMASP, has become a powerful catalyst for inspiring young minds. 

Jay Sanidad teaches his 3rd period class while a student looks on. Sanidad will be teaching the newly approved Filipino American History Curriculum this upcoming Fall.

Gabriel Cazares, a student at Stagg, expressed his gratitude towards Sanidad. “He is very patient with the way he teaches (us),” Cazares highlighted the way Sanidad helps students to be comfortable and open up towards the class. “He is indeed one of the greatest teachers Stagg has to offer,” He added. 

In reflecting on Sanidad’s influence at Stagg, Joy Rialubin-Trejo, his fellow Ethnic Studies teacher and a Filipino-American colleague, expresses profound appreciation for the transformative effect he brings to their shared educational space. Rialubin-Trejo reveals a sense of joy and fulfillment, noting that Sanidad’s fresh ideas have turned aspirations into reality. 

In a momentous achievement, Sanidad and Rialubin-Trejo, alongside collaborators Kailee Lewis and Aldrich Sabac, secured approval for a groundbreaking Filipino-American curriculum at Stagg on the night of November 14, 2023. Their steadfast dedication to cultural enrichment marked a pivotal shift in the school’s educational landscape. The approved curriculum, scheduled to launch in the Fall of 2024, embodies a collective vision to seamlessly integrate Filipino-American history, heritage, and perspectives into the academic experience. This milestone not only signifies the culmination of collaborative efforts but also reflects a profound commitment to cultivating a more inclusive and diverse educational environment at Stagg High School.

In the narrative of Stagg, the fusion of Little Manila Rising and the endeavors like Sanidad ushers in a distinct cultural shift. Sanidad’s transformative journey, sparked within the Little Manila After School Program, transcends mere academic pursuits; it unfolds as a celebration of cultural heritage. 

Referring back to Sanidad’s cyclical perspective on education, where awareness begets understanding and appreciation, Stagg High School is poised to nurture cultural roots, ensuring that the resonance of this cultural celebration echoes within the community for years to come. “The great thing with LMASP is what they did was look beyond the history and try to push it towards (the question) ’Now, What are you going to do? What is the action that comes with this knowledge?”

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