Concepcion R. Gonzalez
Concepcion Rafols Gonzalez (b. July 13, 1892 - d. 1961) was the first national commissioner of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (G.S.P.). She was also the chief scout during her time which was the highest title to be given on a Girl scout volunteer worker.
Born in Maasin, Leyte, Concepcion was the daughter of Eustaquio M. Rafols and Melitona Miravalles. Her early education was from a three special tutorials from an American soldier-teacher and formal classroom work at the Colegio de la Immaculada Concepcionin Cebu. Later, she went to Manila where she enrolled at the Manila High School, then the country's pioneer public secondary school that was set up by the Americans. After graduation, she immediately took special courses at the University of the Philippines after which, she taught in the public schools. Being an efficient teacher, she earned the position of the first assistant supervisor of City Schools - the first Filipina to be entrusted with that responsibility by the Americans.
As a wife and mother
Concepcion was married to Bievenido M. Gonzalez, a prominent educator who later became the president of the University of the Philippines. The two when Bienvenido was sent by the government to study at the John Hopkins University, in Maryland. She sailed with him on his way to the university. She was enrolled at the famed Peabody Conservatory of Music where she took art courses and music. The couple was gifted with five children, three boys and two girls, all were successful in their chosen careers.
While her husband was assigned to the University of the Philippines Los Baños, she busied herself in doing sociocivic works. She organized the Los Baños chapter of the National Federation of Women's Clubs and helped in organizing the Makiling Ladies Club in which she was the president for sixteen years.
When Bienvenido was appointed to the University of the Philippines in Padre Faura, Manila, the Gonzales family moved with him - Concepcion she was ready to face a bigger civic undertaking. She joined Josefa Llanes-Escoda and several other women leaders in forming the Girl Scouts of the Philippines. She became the first national commissioner of the movement. By the time that the war disrupted the Girls Scout movement, Mrs. Escoda was killed by the Japanese military police. This event discouraged the organized civilian activities of the community at that time.
In 1945, Mrs. Gonzalez tried to reorganized the scattered members of the movement, with the help of Elvira Llanes, the younger sister of Mrs. Escoda, they put up an office in Sta. Ana, Manila. But it was not an easy task - problems arose and their office had to be transferred from one place to another. All the hardships that they encounter was soon rewarded, with the help of Maria Aurora Quezon, the oldest daughter of President Manuel L. Quezon, they won the support of dynamic young society women.
Concepcion Gonzales became the national president of the movement for three consecutive terms, 1951 to 1957. During her presidency she had made great strides, particularly in membership and finance. She acquired a lot at Padre Faura where it became the beautiful headquarters of the G.S.P. Her next project was the national camping and training center, located at San Bartolome, near Novaliches. In Davao, a lot was also acquired for the organization. Members were also increased in numbers - physical, moral, social, and civic education were given to the young girl scouts.
In recognition of Mrs. Gonzalez outstanding service to the young and particularly to the members of the G.S.P., the Association of Red Feather Agency Executives gave her an Award of Merit in 1955 for her "exemplary and consistent leadership" in the G.S.P. and to the many lives of the society, through her continuous program for citizenship training, character building and community service.
- Ancheta, Hermina M. and Michaela Beltran-Gonzales. Filipino Women in Nation Building. A compilation of Brief Biographies. Quezon City: Phoenix Publishing House, 1984.