HONOR MOM. Roselyn Dagsa, 21, is one of the Grade 7 honor students of Buraburon National High School recognized for her achievements on Friday (April 5, 2019). In most school days, she brings her two-year-old kid to the classroom. Her story featured by the Philippine News Agency has inspired netizens. (Photo by Sarwell Meniano)
BURAUEN, Leyte -- A school in an upland village here, which was built to help curb the high dropout rate in the village and neighboring areas, held on Friday its first ever recognition ceremony -10 months after it was opened to students from indigent families.
All 90 students of the Buraburon National High School in Tagadtaran village came to witness the recognition of their 19 classmates, who completed Grades 7 and 8 with honors. The school used its old makeshift room as the venue.
“This is historic since this is the very first recognition in our school. We want to honor parents and all stakeholders who worked together to help fulfill the dreams of these children,” school principal Adolfo Raga told parents and learners, who packed the old makeshift room made of coconut lumber, bamboo, and corrugated sheets.
The makeshift hall used to be the classrooms of students for several months last year before the completion of a three-classroom building funded by the local government.
One of the achievers was Grade 7 completer Roselyn Dagsa, 21, who, in most schools days, attended classes with her two-year-old daughter, Honeylyn, in tow.
The tiring daily grind of this young mother is overshadowed by her ambition to become a police officer someday.
“I am very happy to complete one year in junior high school. It’s a long way to go, but I believe I am getting closer to achieving my dream,” Dagsa said.
She stopped her studies after graduating elementary in 2012. Extreme poverty, early marriage, and distance to the nearest high school from their upland village barred her from pursuing secondary education.
She spends about PHP100 daily for a 30-minute single motorcycle ride to get to school, passing through hilly and bumpy roads from their village in Villa Corazon. The transportation cost is double if she would enroll at the town center.
Her story, published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Sept. 12, 2018, was shared 425 times by netizens, earning praises for her perseverance.
Dagsa’s classmate, Regine Manidlangan, 17, is the class’ top student, earning a general average grade of 96. In most occasions, she represented their school in English and Mathematics competitions.
“I might be out of school after elementary if there’s no high school campus close to our village, since it is very expensive to study at the town center,” said Manidlangan, whose father earns about PHP200 daily as a motorcycle driver.
Her village in Anonang is about 18 km. upland from the town center. The distance from her house to the new campus is just 5 km.
Department of Education head teacher and scout leader Elma Raga-Seno, the event’s keynote speaker, told students not to let their impoverished situation stop them from achieving a brighter tomorrow.
“My high school and college education was supported by my widowed mother. My father died when I was young, passing the responsibility to our mother to feed 10 children. The situation was very discouraging, but I overcame all the obstacles,” Seno told students.
Teacher Jason Canales said that through establishing a school in a remote area, children living in upland villages do not have to go down to the town center, thus increasing their chances of completing the school year.
“Children no longer miss classes in most days even if they help their parents tend their farms since the school is closer to the communities,” Canales added.
Several groups have been extending help to the students after the PNA posted a story sharing the plight of students who walk for several kilometers to get to school each day.
Private individuals donated rain coats, umbrellas, uniforms, bags, and school supplies to encourage students to enroll. The school expects enrollment to double by June with new elementary graduates.
The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation committed to provide two sacks of rice daily for children, whose parents have no capability to provide packed lunch. (PNA)
FIRST TIME. Students of Buraburon National High School attend their first ever recognition ceremony on Friday (April 5, 2019) inside a makehift room. The campus with 95 students in Grades 7 and 8 was established to encourage poor students in upland areas to pursue secondary education. (Photo by Sarwell Q. Meniano)