In 1996, a group of friends whose families have long since been involved in the field of education, founded a school whose singular aim was to provide the children of Zamboanga city quality education with a curriculum centered on the Multiple Intelligences that focused on engaging active learning with a commitment and dedication to make a positive difference for the community. Dr. Anicia A. Alvarez, Mr. Arturo Eustaquio III and Atty. Linda E. Lim, were all respected and outstanding educators who knew that the children of Zamboanga deserved a school with facilities that were comparable to that of Metro Manila or American schools at that time. Hansel and Gretel Early Childhood Education Center opened its doors to students on June 6, 1996 at the ZGU building along Gov. Alvarez avenue. It all started as an ambitious undertaking with humble beginnings welcoming the first 65 students enrolled in nursery through Kindergarten with a complement of five academic staff. Soon after, word started to spread and enrollment increased every year. Since its opening, the school’s dynamic educational environment has continued to evolve and in March 2003, the pioneering 29 students graduated and received their elementary school diplomas.

By the year 2000, with a thrust to strengthen operational control and ownership, alongside the Eustaquio family’s focus on turning the Zamboanga Arturo Eustaquio Colleges (ZAEC) into a university, Dr. Anicia A. Alvarez gained controlling stock and sole proprietorship of the school. Wanting to develop a global student body, the school’s first foreign students arrived in 2001. They came from the United States of America, Australia, England, China, Egypt, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. During the same year, our sister school, Wisdom Tree International School House opened in Liaoning province, China. This year also marks Hansel & Gretel’s first international school representation as 2 students represented the school and the country to the Tae-Kwon-Do US open. The desire to continue the legacy of educating children and to establish a model school for quality education with international standards prompted the establishment of Ferndale International School, which has now grown to offer all elementary through secondary levels. In 2003, athletic programs became formalized. With a dedication for holistic education, the basketball, tae-kwon-do, soccer, swimming and arnis teams were established.

In 2004 the secondary education program was opened now under the name of Ferndale International School. In the same year, Ferndale also opened its door to cater to the educational needs of a marginal group - special students with physical and learning disabilities. Ferndale Special Education Center (SPED) was established as a school for exceptional children.

In 2009, Ferndale International School and Hansel & Gretel Early Childhood Education Centre were granted recognition status of all its programs by the Department of Education (DepEd).

Hansel & Gretel Early Childhood
Education Center established
Sole proprietorship by Dr. Alvarez
2001 First foreign students enrolled
2001 Wisdom Tree International School House opened
2001 First international competition exposure Tae-Kwon-Do US Open
2003 Pioneer elementary school graduation
2003 Athletic programs formalized
Ferndale International School Established
2004 Ferndale International School Established
2004 Ferndale Special Education Center (SPED) established
2008 Pioneer secondary level graduation
Granted Recognition

Hansel & Gretel Early Childhood Education Center and Ferndale International School Granted recognition status for all programs

By Department of Education (DepEd)

Moved to New Campus
2014 moved to new campus at BG Bldg, Veterans Avenue
2014 gained city-wide, regional and national recognition for Basketball Championships
2014 gained city-wide, regional and national recognition for being consistent recipient of highest Sportsmanship award
New building for high school department Inaugurated
Pioneer batch of Senior High School program graduate