Yesterday I visited the National High School in Estancia, Iloilo (along with former Vice Mayor Rowena Placencia and Matt Kennedy) to meet with the Principal and twenty (20) gifted students.
The students were personally selected by class heads along the criteria of:-
- their families had suffered significantly from Typhoon Yolanda; AND
- their families were in financial hardship; AND
- they had maintained top grades despite these two overwhelming factors.
We spoke with the Principal Rogelio Andreo and some of the student advisors in order to find the best way to reward the students. We discovered that each of the students would be required to pay 395 pesos in order to receive their official results at the end of the year. Ok, this is only $10 in Australia, but to the families of these kids it is such a significant amount that some of these kids may not be allowed to finish the year simply because they don’t have the money to pay the fee.
This fee will be paid for all twenty (20) kids.
Then we spoke to the kids and asked them what would be the best way to help them. Their response? Well they all want to do extra-curricular activities but don’t have the money to do so. Things like a two day journalist workshop or a weekend science camp or a maths conference. They told us that doing these external camps could contribute up to 30% of their final result if they perform well. None of the twenty (20) kids could afford to attend any of these activities – ranging from 500-1200 pesos per camp.
It was so exciting to see their faces when we told them that they could each nominate one activity and we would pay the school directly for the fees. A great reward for these inspiring young people.
Here are the names of the twenty (20) students who deserve our congratulations and respect for maintaining their school results as well a positive attitude despite significant hardship and struggle. Makes me feel very humble when I consider what a bad attitude I had at school despite having everything they do not.
A big shout out to:-
- Christian B. Alpasan
- Dandy L. Baculiano
- Ariel M. Barrdeo Jr
- Patrick R. Burias
- Junelle C. Garrardo
- Rogin D. Morales
- Zyron John C. Bacubuan
- John Vicent A. Negros
- Erwin Paul A. Valencia
- Stephanny B. Gemao
- Kem Zyerene A. Acosta
- Ellyn Mae C. Ambait
- Kemberly A. Borja
- Ladyn Sarey P De Angel
- Charlene G. Chavez
- Aira C. Francisco
- Syra Rose B. Maniapao
- Erville B. Montoya
- Vina T. Trogo
- Beverley Joy T. Omelan
Understandably, Principal Rogelio Andreo was more than disappointed that even though many NGO’s had visited the school, not one had given aid. Seven months later all repairs following Typhoon Yolanda had been funded by the schools existing budget: ie not one peso had been given to the school by any form of government to assist in the rebuilding.