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Students’ Journey of Discovery and Growth at Keys

At Keys, we believe that education is more than just academics—it is about fostering curiosity, developing character, and nurturing each child's unique interests and talents. We recognize that every student learns differently and aim to provide an environment where they can unlock their full potential. Our student-centered approach focuses on hands-on, experiential learning that sparks discovery and growth. Whether it is through collaborative projects, real-world challenges, or guided self-reflection, our students are given the keys to drive their own journey. They learn not just facts and figures, but how to think critically, work cooperatively, and become engaged, empathetic citizens of the world. Here, creativity is valued as much as test scores. Passion is encouraged, not discouraged. Our goal is to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and mindset to thrive in college, career, and life. Their journey begins with curiosity, engagement, and a sense of wonder—we simply provide the keys to help them discover who they are and who they want to become.

To attest to these claims, three students have been interviewed for insights about how they have been journeying in Keys so far. Over the years, Grade 8 students Miguel Dela Rosa, Lian Palo, and Uona Villanueva believe that Keys has been equipping them to be prepared for the challenges in the present and the future. 

From left to right: Miguel Dela Rosa, Lian Palo, and Uona Villanueva

How long have you been a student at Keys? How’s your learning journey in school so far?

Miguel: I have been a student at Keys since 2015, almost nine years already. Over the years, I was able to learn new things through a creative yet insightful way. With this, my journey in Keys has been exquisite and very helpful to me. In Primary, I was able to learn the basics and be able to remember and carry out the lessons from kindergarten to grade 8. Every lesson is connected but as the grade level gets higher as expected, the lessons become equally as difficult. With this in mind, there would be ups and downs in my journey whether it is with lessons or the workload, but with this, the journey in Keys has taught me to be persevering and to never give up on different things and to keep going. 

Lian: I’ve been studying  in Keys ever since Kindergarten, and I’m now an incoming 9th grade student. I was probably around 5 or 6 when I enrolled in Keys. I don’t think I can really imagine my life without the Keys community, I like to think that it is my second home. 

I believe my learning journey has been going well. Of course, there are times when I feel overwhelmed or stressed due to school work or activities. But  even if I don’t feel like it right now, I think that these past few years might be some of the best years in my academic journey so far. I think I’ve become more participative and engaged in class discussions. There are definitely still moments where I want to keep to myself at school, but I’m glad that I’ve somewhat come out of my shell and feel more confident joining in discussions. I’ve also been able to maintain good grades throughout the past few school years. I think the most significant thing that has happened in my academic journey is how I’ve been able to apply my understanding and learnings from different subjects in my everyday life. I always find it enjoyable or exciting when I discover new ways to incorporate what I’ve learned from school into my hobbies or vocations. 

Uona: I’ve been a student in Keys since kindergarten, so I’ve been in Keys for eight years already. So far, my learning journey in Keys has been full of ups and downs, but I think those are normal for all students to experience. A notable insight I have gained from this is that in most situations, your biggest form of critique would be yourself and because of that, sometimes you’d be pessimistic about your results or how you’re doing academically. But one thing I would like to point out is that your results (academically) are a result of your willingness and how hard you work to achieve your academic goals. Something I acknowledge is that hard work comes in many forms – and sometimes although you try your hardest, it doesn’t work out. But the important takeaway from that is instead of not giving it your all, you gave your best. Despite this sounding like somewhat of a lose-lose situation, it very much is not. In situations where you try your best but unfortunately don’t reach your goals, it pushes you to try harder and to improve yourself as you stay true to pursuing your goals. 

Another thing to note is that if you embody this philosophy of never giving up – it doesn’t mean you’ll have the smoothest ride while having a happy-go-lucky attitude. Instead, you’ll have points where you doubt yourself and start finding yourself lacking motivation, but at these times, it's important to accept that you’re not at your best and recognize the state you’re in. While recognizing this, you can find new ways to push yourself to overcome these personal challenges and continue to strive during your academic journey. Again, mistakes are inevitable, but they are what pushes you to give your best, and overcome your shortcomings.

Why do you trust Keys for your learning? What do you think is its role in shaping you as a learner? 

Miguel: I saw how the teachers in Keys are always willing to help with different things I am struggling with. Keys has been shaping me to be a very persevering student. In school sometimes, it is really difficult for me, whether it is due to the busy schedule or the overwhelming workload. But I learned not to give up and keep pushing until I achieve what I need to do.

Lian: I trust the Keys community for my learning because the institution has shown nothing but its wholehearted support to me. The teachers put a tremendous amount of time and effort for us students. They are always willing to adjust or adapt to different changes to enhance our learning experiences. I think that one of Keys' roles is to teach students core values and morals that we should practice in and outside of school. Additionally, Keys helps students like me identify our passions, strengths, and points of improvement; they also teach us how to better those areas so we can develop and thrive as learners. I believe another major role that Keys plays in the shaping of us as learners is to build a collaborative and open milieu. It’s crucial to create a healthy or good environment for us to grow as learners, or rather, as people, and I believe Keys excels at doing just that.

Uona: I think I trust Keys mostly because I am aware that it can give their students opportunities and privileges that other schools in the Philippines may not offer. I think over the years because I have always been a Keys student, it’d be hard to compare it to other schools and how they might have shaped me as a learner. Despite this, I think something that Keys has given to me as a learner is the attributes and community it has. Although I think of myself as somewhat of a natural hard worker, I feel that Keys’ teachers and students are what make our learning experiences here special, and meaningful to both our academic and personal lives. The community has always been supportive. Its teachers always try their hardest to respond to the learning needs of their students, and the students are in constant support of each other, making the small community closely bound together. 

What are the opportunities or activities that Keys provides for you to explore and sharpen your knowledge of the world?

Miguel: Keys has given me several activities from a young age. While I was in primary, I was given the chance to do several things such as having tutors for different subjects and being allowed to do different sports (football, swimming, and floorball), and many other activities whether it was class lessons or just simple out-of-school activities. This has helped me sharpen my knowledge of different aspects of life, one of them being to always accept learning. Without this, we won't be able to grow and improve as people. 

Lian: Keys opens doors to various opportunities for us. Firstly, Keys organizes multiple fairs such as the STEAM/Science Fair, VIA Fair, and HELE Fair. In the STEAM Fair, we are challenged to hone our problem-solving skills to come up with creative, sustainable, and effective solutions addressing issues related to science and technological advancements. From my experience, this event really helps train myself to view scientific problems from a more global perspective. The HELE and VIA Fair, on the other hand, dips more into business, as students can man their stalls or stands. The VIA Fair, in particular, also allows students to manage funds raised after the event. Another notable opportunity that students are given is student council. This is exclusive to MS & CP (high school) students. Here, learners have the chance to become more involved in the facilitating of events and activities in the school. It also helps develop leadership skills and allows you to collaborate with other grades in secondary.

Uona: I think some of the opportunities we have in VIA are the ability to create external projects (IU/IRE) and the ability to sometimes choose the form of the class’s performance tasks, which I believe may give students the upper hand in playing into their strengths, as well as giving students the challenge of going out of their comfort zone and improving their “weaknesses.” Sometimes we also have the opportunity to choose the form of our PTs which are applied individually, allowing us to fully exercise our strengths. Other than this, I believe that Keys also allows students to experience other educational opportunities such as HMCA and MMUN in high school. I also noticed that recently, primary schools have implemented clubs which were previously only for high school students. The implementation of this, I believe, allows younger students to foster the growth of their interests and expose them to interaction with other people.

What are your words of encouragement for all Keys students who would like to thrive more?

Miguel: My words of encouragement to other Keys students who want to thrive is to learn how to change your perspective on things. After all these years, I learned that having a positive perspective on anything you do and anything that happens. Say, for example, you are having a challenging time with the lessons, just think of it as learning new things and how it will benefit you making you a better person. Maybe you are being challenged by the amount of workload needed. You can think that this will help teach you to learn to better manage your time. Overall, as long as you have a new positive perspective on different challenges it will help you significantly learn better.

Lian: We all start somewhere! There are things or skills that we can’t master immediately, and that’s completely normal! Pressuring yourself to become this adept, expert wizard in one night won’t get you far in the long run. However, I think what’s more important is that you learn to accept and improve from those embarrassing moments or mistakes. Whether it's the time you missed that shot in basketball and felt absolutely horrible right after, or that time when you fumbled for the right words during your science presentation in front of everyone in the class - learning to embrace and better yourself in all of those instances is the ultimate part of growing and evolving as people! In addition, I’d also like to highlight the importance of taking breaks. Now, to be fair, this is something that still eludes me, but I don’t think anything is more essential than taking rest. Burnout is a thing, a very exhausting and energy-draining thing. School can be extremely challenging or stressful at times, and the thing we probably need in those circumstances is some rest. Make sure you know your limits and find a balance between school work and personal life! 

Uona: Continue to find the motivation that allows you to work harder. While trying to achieve your goals, whether it be social, academic, etc. never forget to continue pushing yourself to be better, as you can always improve yourself. During your academic journey, you’ll have many ups and downs, and because of that, you’ll be able to learn many life lessons that will prove to be helpful later on in your life. And so my words of encouragement are to continue trying your hardest, and continue to be the Keys student that you are!

At our school, the student journey is not just about memorizing facts or scoring high on tests. It's an adventure in intellectual, social, and emotional growth that allows each child to flourish in their own way. With curiosity as their compass, and teachers as their guides, our students chart their own course and unlock their unique potential. The journey teaches them independence, resilience, empathy, and a passion for learning that will remain with them long after graduation. Most importantly, they discover the keys needed to unlock their brightest future—one where they can thrive, contribute, and find fulfillment in work, relationships, and life. This is the real value of a progressive education.

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