THEY are the unsung heroes who persevere in fulfilling Dr. Jose Rizal’s words that “the youth are the hope of the fatherland.”
In the classroom, they work hard to teach pupils that success in life depends on carrying out each day’s task by working hard, with discipline and perseverance.
For teaching these values to their pupils in the best way possible, five public-school teachers are receiving the Gintong Parangal para sa Guro Awards on September 12, in ceremonies at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, Department of Education Head Office on Meralco Avenue, Pasig City.
Five school administrators are also receiving the Gintong Parangal Pamumuno Awards for their exemplary implementation of the values program in their Department of Education Schools Divisions.
The Gintong Parangal para sa Guro and Gintong Parangal para sa Pamumuno, comprising the Gintong Parangal para sa Edukasyon, are handed out by Fortune Life Insurance Co. as part of its corporate social responsibility efforts. The awards are given under the Values Advocacy Program of Fortune Life, undertaken with the DepEd and advocacy firm Mary Lindbert. It was launched in 2011.
The values advocacy program showcases the life story of Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua, who rose from poverty to being a successful businessman by dint of hard work and discipline. Fortune Life, in partnership with the DepEd, drew up a textbook and workbook with lessons based on the life of the late ambassador.
The awards program for the teachers—Gintong Parangal para sa Guro—is now on its seventh year, launched on the second year of the Values Advocacy Program in 2012. The Gintong Parangal para sa Pamumuno awards for school officials like superintendents are only on their second year this year. The awards were launched last year.
The teacher awardees for this year are Hadja Sarah Lucman Handang, DepEd Division, Zamboanga City; Dr. Rene Rose M. Labasan, San Juan Elementary School, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya; Dominic R. Ocampo, Benito R. Villar Memorial School in Alternative Learning System, Oriental Mindoro; Darwin T. Fadifa, Tubungan Central Elementary School, Tubungan, Iloilo and Cesar V. Valondo, Fortunato F. Halili National Agriculural School, Bulacan.
The Gintong Parangal sa Pamumuno awardees are Dr. Denizon P. Domingo, DepEd Tuguegarao City; Dr. Evangeline Ladines, DepEd Pasay City; Dr. Joel B. Lopez, DepEd Laoag City; Dr. Orlando E. Manuel, DepEd Quirino Province and Dr. Cecilia E. Valderama, DepEd Bulacan.
An e-mail interview with some of the awardees reveals how public-school teachers continue to be guided by their ideals. They are teachers not because they need jobs, but because they believe in the validity, integrity and relevance of their profession.
Rene Rose Labasan, Master Teacher II of San Juan Elementary School in San Juan, Nueva Vizcaya, articulates very well how it feels to form young minds.
“As an elementary grade teacher for almost 26 years, I find it joyous, delightful and very challenging mingling with these children, particularly Grade 1 pupils, the crucial grades to handle. For I believe in the biblical passage, ‘Train up your child the way you want to be, for when he grows old, he will not depart from it.’”
Denizon Domingo, Parangal awardee from Tuguegarao City, points to the Character of the Month observance that he initiated in his jurisdiction as his source of pure pride and joy. Under this program, the schools division confers recognition on teachers who taught in the best way possible the values being promoted under the values advocacy program.
“The most fulfilling part is to know that the Character of the Month has become a buzzword not only among teachers and school heads, but also students. In fact, they have localized it, by rewarding also their own students and teachers in their own programs,” he said.
Teacher awardee Dominic R. Ocampo, who worked among the Mangyans in Oriental Mindoro, finds as his best reward “the showing of tolerance and understanding others” among his pupils. “Since my learners are Mangyans, I can integrate the values lessons in their struggle in life in terms of mingling with non-Mangyans.”
He had to overcome their distrust in “being a subject of prejudices and discrimination in government services and other cultural misunderstandings,” he said.
He feels most fulfilled “when the IP [indigenous peoples] learners can significantly internalize the values being taught. It’s very much like their perseverance in surviving the harsh climate and hard work in maintaining their farmlands.”
Gintong Parangal Pamunuan awardee Cecilia E. Valderama, head of the DepEd Bulacan Schools Division, has under her division 403,430 students from kindergarten to senior high school in public schools and 97,627 students from kindergarten to senior high school in private schools.
Having these thousands of learners under her jurisdiction, “I feel a very strong conviction that as an implementer of the values advocacy program, I am accountable to God and society to make the values recovery program through education successful. This mission makes the challenge more inspiring and motivating,” she said.
Having these teachers and school executives as the molders of the next generation of Filipinos, Filipinos can rest assured that there will be enough values-oriented citizens who will make the future bright and hopeful.