Aiming to give credit and appreciation to students, teachers and the community, who have given their valued participation and support to the endeavor of strengthening tri-people children’s access to quality education through a culture of peace, Pasali Philippines together with Cordaid and Respect Education Foundation crafted the culmination day. For this school year, 2014 to 2015, the Respect Education Program or REP held two culmination day events. First in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat and the second in General Santos City. The latter of the two, which fell on the 16th day of February, included 9 schools, two (2) from the division of Sarangani Province and seven (7) from General Santos City. The venue, KCC Convention and Events Center, came to life as more than a thousand participants composed of students, teachers, school heads, various guests and representatives from both public and private sectors and Pasali Staffs attended the event.
But the glory of the day was not in the guests, nor in the huge venue, it was in its the capacity to let the children speak in front and advocate themselves, showing that a child is also aware of social issues and has the ability to speak and understand it. Roxan Kapawan, a student of Upper Labay National High School gave her own thematic speech. Promoting the need and want of her fellow Bla’an and other IP communities to be respected the way they are. She also believes that respect is the way to peace, if only each person takes its meaning to heart.
A number of children from different schools also gave their presentation of poems they were able to pen for one of the REP’s workshop; ‘I Am Poem’. They were expressions of their personalities and were a showcase of a child’s talent to create something whimsical but meaningful. Aside from speeches and poems there were messages of response from students and teachers, each one expressing their appreciation of how educating about respect has taught them and for the better. Sir Stephen Leornas of Bawing Elementary School even testified that through “the trainings I have went through … made me confident to share my hidden talents, skills and expertise”.
Gracing the event, Dr. Allan G. Farnazo, Regional Director for DepEd XII, shared his own thoughts on Respect. He began by saying that DepEd is the only department in the country where you can see almost all children, it is also in this department where you can find the different challenges that each children faced, and in his own words he said “…ang mga batang hindi natuto at hindi maturuan ng maayos dahil may mga personal na hamon na hinaharap. At isa dyan ang respeto sa sarili na dapat matanggap ng bawat mamayang Pilipino…” Seizing the moment the director gave his advices to the crowd at hand saying that the challenge to a child with self-respect is to learn how to respect his fellow human, even encouraging children from far flung areas to strive for success.
After the day’s activity each school begun to line up and file out of the venue. Pasali staffs also stationed at the door to greet each child going out with a high five and a wave. Smiles were thrown from each side with the children themselves calling out names of their “kuya” and “ate”. Some said thanks; others expressed a hope for the same activity next year and almost every child you ask was certain he or she was going to miss the staffs and the program they have all came to know through the past years. It is after all for the best of the children, a journey to peace through respect, values formation and education by the country’s next generation.
Setting up two Culmination Days for the year 2015, Pasali Philippines started the first round in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat with four participating elementary schools, including the host school, last February 12. The event was held at the gymnasium of Milbuk Central Elementary School with attendants including students, teachers and school heads, DepEd personnels, Marine Corps, LGU representatives and Pasali Staffs, numbering to almost six hundred. It was a program both to commemorate students, teachers and the community for their participation and support, and to bring a happy ending to another fruitful year of Respect Education Program (REP).
Early that morning vans have been busy going to and fro picking up students from their respective schools; Palimbang Central, Kanipaan and Usman Emban, to Milbuk. It was a fun start for the program with students arriving together, their vehicles lined up and them marching to the venue wearing proud smiles and this year’s REP tee shirts. The event then begun with the opening of the two Masters-of-Ceremonies, Norsheena and Myrt, both Grade VI students of Milbuk Central, calling each school to stand and give their respective yells. Then a doxology and the singing of the national anthem lead by selected students of Kanipaan followed. The program manager Jayne Isha Christine Boholst welcomed and acknowledged the attendants of the day, put in plain words the objectives of Pasali for helping tri-people children, enlightened everyone of the occasion’s theme and she even continued to say that today the children were the main characters. Then the students of Milbuk performed their dance version of the song “Purihin mo ang Pilinas”, it was then followed by an audio and visual presentation (AVP) of the whole year’s REP activities.
“Ang batang may respeto, kapuri-puri at iniidolo” was the slogan of Julhaimen Condo, a Grade IV student of Kanipaan, thought up like countless other students for the Respect Day, not knowing this simple but meaningful message would be chosen as the best and used as a medium to convey the finale of REP 2015. And who better to give the thematic message than the child that envisioned the theme. In his short but direct speech, Julhaimen phrased his masterpiece to mean that “…ang isang bata na may respeto sa kanyang kapwa, ay maaaring hahangaan at tutularan ng iba pang mga bata o tao.” (…a child who respects his fellow human, maybe admired and emulated by other children or people.)
After a colorful Muslim dance number presented by Kanipaan students, snacks were distributed accompanied by games and an entertaining dance given by Jollibee and Hetti with their crew. The children at the sight of Jollibee instantly stood from their seats, jumped up and down yelling for him to come near them. For some students it would become one of the day’s highlights, especially those who have never seen the mascot before. It was an unexpected bonus.
“Di po matatawarang pagpapasalamat ang gusto naming ipahatid sa pagbigigay sa amin ng pagkakataon na maging parte sa programa, sa willingnesss ninyo na turuan kami, at sa karagdagang kaalaman na ibinigay ninyo. Maraming salamat po!” (There are no amount of gratitude we want to express for giving us the chance to become part of this program, with your willingness to teach us, and for the additional knowledge that you gave us. Thank you very much!) This was the response of the Respect Club President of Kolong-kolong Elementary School. With the same sentiments from other Respect Club presidents of each schools, also thank Pasali and the Respect Education Program. Aside from thanksgiving, it is also their way of expressing their thoughts and ideas especially with what they want to achieve for their respective clubs. They were able to relate to how they were changed and what they have learned from the project. This is also the vision of Pasali for the children, after all it was an event for the children and by the children. In the words of Von Gregie, Respect Club President of Kanipaann “Natuto po kaming maging magalang sa aming kapwa.” (We learned how to respect our fellow humans.) Then it was followed by the giving of certificates to each student honoring his and her participation in the program.
And as with the students, the teachers gave their own responses and messages in summing up the whole year. There were the usual appreciation and gratitude for everything that REP has given; there were expectations for the future for a similar project. But most importantly the teachers themselves were able to testify of the growth and outcome of the program towards the students’ values and attitudes, changes that might just be the beginning of a better and peaceful future for each child.
Respect Education Program (REP)
Enhancing quality of teaching and promoting respect.
How it all started