Teachers: The Motivators Who Help Make Dreams Come True

Teachers: The Motivators Who Help Make Dreams Come True

The Reunion – 14 Years after HS Graduation

Just some days ago, I chanced upon a heartwarming video from Gabay Guro of a child being passed from his mother to a very long line of teachers.

The video came with the caption, It takes around 200 teachers to take us to our dreams. How many have you thanked? Show support to teachers by thanking them!  #GabayGuro

Yes! I will thank our teachers! We should thank our teachers!

So, I arranged for my brother, Ian Bertoldo, and I to visit the school to thank the teachers who had been instruments for us to reach of dreams. Two of my high school best friends Monique Ellado-Neri (with her son) and Gelend Talahuron also came along, to join our happy reunion with our teachers.

My supportive husband, JO2 Bobby Adalia, and our two kids, Zedi and Dani, also came along to witness this momentous event.

My brother Ian, my favorite HS teacher Mrs. Felilia Jatico, me with daughter Dani, my son Zedi, my HS bestfriends Monique (with son Luke) and Gelend

My brother Ian, my favorite HS teacher Mrs. Felilia Jatico, me with daughter Dani, my son Zedi, my HS bestfriends Monique (with son Luke) and Gelend

Mr. Alfredo Elola, Ian, Mrs. Ma. Heidi Duran, Mrs. Jatico with Luke, Monique with Zedi, Mrs. Annabelle Santillan, me with Dani, Gelend, and Bobby

The Reunion – A visit to RTPM Dumaguete Science High School, 14 years after graduation
Mr. Alfredo Elola, Ian, Mrs. Ma. Heidi Duran, Mrs. Jatico with Luke, Monique with Zedi, Mrs. Annabelle Santillan, me with Dani, Gelend, and Bobby

with our teachers, Mrs. Santillan, Mrs. Julie Duran, and Mrs. Melinda Favor

with our former teachers, Mrs. Yvette Gamora, Mrs. Annabelle Santillan, Mrs. Julie Duran, and Mrs. Melinda Favor

The Poor, Hopeless Kids

As children coming from a very poor family whose main problem was whether we will have food for the next meal, obtaining a college degree was a huge dream which seemed unattainable, impossible.

For how could we even hope of going to college when we could barely afford the next meal? We barely had money for lunch, definitely no money for snacks, and only just enough for the fare to school – the fare home was another problem.

Our family Jeilt, Ian, me, Mama Eve, and our late father, Papa Nardo

Our family
Jeilt, Ian, me, Mama Eve, and our late father, Papa Nardo

We had to meet school requirements, yet it was extremely difficult. Projects had to be passed late because we could not afford them. I remember having only 2 pairs of uniform for the entire 4 years of high school!

Teachers to the Rescue

Hopeless about the future, teachers at the RTPM Dumaguete Science High School were there to the rescue.

Somehow, they were able to understand that we were too poor to pay for projects on time; thus, we were given time to pass them a little late. They knew we could not afford the right shoes (black for the regular school uniform, rubber shoes for PE) to wear; thus, we were allowed to wear canvas shoes (I am quite sure those cost P99 that time!).

Me, Ana Marie Estrebello (partially hidden), Cecille Aller, Rachelle Teves, Ian, and the schools janitor Nong Moloy

Me, Ana Marie Estrebello (partially hidden), Cecille Aller, Rachelle Teves, Ian, and the school’s janitor Nong Moloy

The Scholarship Program

The teachers recognized how poor we were, so when then Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo allocated funds for 3 scholars in the school, my brother Ian and I both were selected as recipients. Every month, we were given P500 which we had to collect at the City Hall.

It was Mrs. Elvie Alam-Alam who would process the payroll, then tell us the money was ready for pick-up at the City Hall. Our teachers would allow us to go to the City Hall with the other recipient. Of course, that had to be within school/office hours.

Me, Mrs. Felilia Jatico, Bobby (background), and Mrs. Elvie Alam-Alam

Me, Mrs. Felilia Jatico, Bobby (background), and Mrs. Elvie Alam-Alam

Mind you, that was not an easy thing to do. We had to walk at least a kilometer to reach the highway, so we could find a tricycle that would bring us to the City Hall, some 5 km away. Still, the teachers knew there really was no other way, so we were allowed to go out every month.

science high 10

It was also around this time that our family became recipients of a house from the Habitat for Humanity. We had to pay for it every month, but it was the first house we could ever call as our own!

The Depression

By the time I was in fourth year, though, I became somewhat depressed. It was hard to think about what lies in the very near future. Less than a year from then, my classmates would be in college. I wonder how my brother and I would fare. Our mom would always say it is the Lord who will give us a way, yet would never give any other answer than that when asked if we could go to college.

The public university’s tuition costs at least P5,000 per semester. With my brother and I both attending school at the same time, how could our parents even afford P10,000 a semester? That’s P20,000 a year, in school fees alone! How about our fares, food, projects, uniforms, etc.?

We could barely eat, how could we ever afford college, anyway?

Then, our father died in October that year. It seemed like the end of the world for us. I felt sure there was no college education for me and my brother. We probably have to find work after the school year ends, so we can have money to meet our basic needs. Just imagine how truly depressing that had been to 16-year-old me!

The Motivators

It was during the last year of high school that the teachers really came to our rescue. Depressed and hopeless, they stepped in to provide words of wisdom and guidance.

Perhaps they had an inkling about how we felt after losing our father so suddenly. So, despite me incurring weeks of absences, they gave plenty of allowances in school work and projects. I could just remember how I begged Ms. Ma. Heidi Duran to accept my project – 1 month late! Thankfully, she took pity on me.

science high 6

With Mrs. Felilia Jatico, one of the teachers who made a huge impact in my life

Mrs. Felilia Jatico and the late Ms. Ferolina Agir were among those who gave the most valuable advice about getting a college degree. They said that working after high school instead of going to college might give us money for our needs but it will be a temporary solution.

Do not think about the immediate future. Think about the long-term future.

Do really want to get stuck to a low-paying, less-than-minimum-wage money received by people who were not able to finish school? Think about your family in the future.

You are intelligent, you can make it to college with scholarship programs. There are plenty available for poor yet deserving students like you.

Go for it! We have faith in you, your abilities, and your intelligence. Just work hard. Surely, you will reach your dreams.

The College Leap of Faith

Remember the P5,000-per-semester school? That was a public school, but there are very few scholarship programs available there.

So, the excited me, the motivated me, the one who heard the very inspiring words from our teachers, actually took a leap of faith. Instead of enrolling in that public school, I enrolled at Silliman University – a prestigious private school.

What crazy thing happened, anyway? Silliman University cost around P25,000 per semester. Why did I even try to enroll there when my mother could not even afford the P5,000 school?

Well, for one, the teachers said I could do it – that there was a huge chance I would get a scholarship. My cousins and aunts also said there were plenty of scholarship programs available then.

It also helped a lot that I got a 99% rating in the entrance test. The teachers gave me a huge “Go for it!” approval. The depressed, hopeless suddenly became overconfident. So, I told myself I could do it.

I asked my mother to secure the P5,000 for the down payment. She was worried that we will be in deeper debt and I could not finish the semester, yet I had this crazy feeling that I could actually get a scholarship.

with some of my HS best friends, Ana Villa, Monique Ellado-Neri, and Gesila Guevarra-Folio

with some of my HS best friends, Ana Villa, Anne Monique Ellado-Neri, and Gesila Guevarra-Folio

A family friend working as dorm manager in the university also took me in as desk assistant, providing me with free lodging inside the campus plus a working student job. She also recommended me as food server at the school cafeteria for free meals. Food and lodging were taken care of, so I did not have a problem throughout the semester.

Plus, my extra earnings in both jobs were able to cover the rest of the tuition fees for the first semester, plus a little extra for the second semester’s down payment. I was also able to ‘earn’ extra money in academic scholarship from my first semester’s grade.

Before the second semester ended, I was informed that I was chosen as recipient of the Bob and Metta Silliman scholarship, which pays for FULL tuition and all school fees – for 4 years! So, I was able to withdraw my earnings from my two jobs to help my family.

BS Chemistry Batch 2005 field trip at Nestle factory Photo credit: Honey Lou Mendoza-Muñez

BS Chemistry Batch 2005 field trip at Nestle factory
Photo credit: Facebook/Honey Lou Mendoza-Muñez

Meanwhile, it was our mother’s sister who paid for my brother’s education.

I felt there is a need to share this back story, because if not for my motivators, I wouldn’t have gained the courage to take that huge leap of faith!

Sweet Success

To make a very long story short, my brother and I were both able to graduate from college.

With my family during my college graduation

Our family during my college graduation

Although I graduated and obtained a license as Chemist, I later quit my job at Taiheyo Cement Philippines, Inc. (Grand Cement ) in Cebu to start a new family in Dumaguete.

Today, I work as freelance writer and editor for several websites, including The Dailypedia, RachFeed, Kicker Daily News, Buzz Flare, 2ngaw, and Toongaw. I had also previously worked for 6 years as writer for Haven for Writers/The Write Brew.

Photo credit: Donie Ocalinas

Photo credit: Donie Ocalinas

Meanwhile, my brother works as Journal Account Officer at SPi Global here in Dumaguete.

Our 'thank your' cake

Our ‘thank your’ cake

Thanks, RTPM Dumaguete Science High School teachers (SY 1996-1997, SY 1997-1998, SY 1998-1999, and SY 1999-2000) for helping us reach our dreams! I am fully aware that I will never be the person that I am now, without your guidance.

Thanks to #GabayGuro for highlighting the importance of teachers in every person’s life.

Thank you!

About author

Joy Adalia
Joy Adalia 319 posts

A non-functioning licensed Chemist but full-time mommy of 2 kids, full-time wife, and full-time freelancer ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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