Whoever says that a teacher needs credentials to be called one has never taught at all. Sometimes it only takes a relentless heart, an inspiring soul, or just a disarming smile to teach the toughest students a lesson or two.
Dara Lynn, Ernesto, and Glenn know these and despite the efforts made to build more classrooms for the students of Palompon, Leyte, much can still be done to keep them in the school.
For what it’s worth, these three colleagues who met at the biggest copper smelting and refinery plant in Leyte, PASAR, started a tutoring program on weekends that has turned around the lives of young people in Palompon.
They started with a small group of high school students in 2004, but were surprised by the immense turnout on day one.
“We got amazed when we saw 160 students attend the tutorial session because we were only expecting a section of around 30-45,” recalls Dara Lynn.
The tutorial went well at first, but sooner it became a cat’s away-mice play situation. Students either skipped classes or dropped out of school in favor of an easy life or temporary jobs. But, they stayed on task despite having felt that their efforts were down to nothing.
The team decided to hurtle past their efforts and came in contact with different schools for quality and affordable education. Their linkage to CITE through its former training officer, Wally Ong, paved way for the scholarship program for high school graduates. It heightened the interest of the high school students to study in Cebu under the scholarship grant.
Arrangements were made with CITE and admission tests were conducted in PASAR. But after the exams, they faced another challenge of sending 25 students to Cebu for the training.
Dara, who has such a way with words, convinced her other co-workers to support the cause by sponsoring one trip or provide a scholarship grant. True enough, the team was able to send the students to Cebu for the training wherein 10 students successfully passed in 2006.
“Since then, it became an annual thing for us to send some students to CITE. We have about 19 graduates now” , recalls Glenn who confesses to being a frustrated teacher.
But aside from just sending the students to CITE, Dara Lynn and Glenn always make sure to follow up on the students’ performance through phone calls and actual visitation at the boarding houses. They made a round of visits twice a year and attend their graduation rites.
“We treat them as a family, not just some person we extended some help to. We want to make sure they will graduate and they will be able to help their families.”
Dennis Etulle, an in-plant technician in San Miguel, looks forward to this regular meeting with Dara Lynn.
“Ate Dara is like a second mother to us. She gives us advice. She treats us to some restaurant. We’re very thankful that she takes care of us even if we sometimes we disappoint her with our performance in the school,” he said.
Dara Lynn and her spouse Emerson have put up a perpetual scholarship grant for one student a year. Glenn continues to send student on his account, and other members of the group continued to pool in funds to give any deserving student from Palompon a shot at life. ⊕
Summary of Scholarships:
PASAR Foundation – 10 scholars
Mr. Mirardo C. Malazarte Jr., PASAR SVP – 1 scholar
Mr. Thomas W. Gonzales, former PASAR SVP – 1 scholar
Mr. Louis Hosea Els, former PASAR President – 1 scholar
Mr. Manuel R. del Rosario, PASAR SVP – 1 scholar
Mr. James Tovel – 2 partial scholars
Mr. Glen D. Ceballos, PASAR Senior Manager – 1 scholar
Mr. and Mrs. Roy Estrada III – 1 scholar
Batch 1 Scholars – 1 scholar
JamJar Project – 1 scholar
Ms. Christie Chua – 1 scholar
Mr. and Mrs. Emerson and Dara Lynn Go – perpetual scholarship