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AboitizPower provides a better learning environment for the students of Benguet National High School
September 19, 2023
Within the halls of Benguet National High School (BNHS), a quiet transformation is underway, signaling an end to cramped, dilapidated classrooms with sagging ceilings and inadequate lighting. Today, the BNHS community rejoices in the presence of revitalized classrooms, breathing new life into the educational journey of its students.
“Simula noong dumating ako, nakita ko nang butas-butas iyang ceiling. For more than 10 years nang ganoon siya, open talaga. Kaya ang ginagawa ng mga dating naka-room dito ay nilalagyan na lang ng lanterns para hindi halata at mayroon ding timba sa lapag para ipangsalo ng tulo tuwing umuulan. Tapos bumabaha talaga sa loob ng classroom kapag dire-diretso ang ulan (From the moment I arrived, I noticed the holes in the ceiling. For more than 10 years, it was really open. So, the previous occupants of this room hung lanterns to hide the holes. They also placed buckets on the floor to catch leaks caused by rainfall. The classrooms would often flood when it rained continuously),” Teacher Diana Sumale shared.
These vivid descriptions paint a stark picture of the challenges that students and teachers endured for years, becoming an unfortunate part of their daily lives.
A rainbow shone through in 2022 when the Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE) classroom assigned to Diana was refurbished.
“Natuwa ako dahil naging mas okay na, mas maaliwalas na siya tingnan, mas maayos. Wala na ‘yung pino-problema naming tumutulo. At dahil may division na, mas controlled na ‘yung learning at nakakapag-focus ang mga estudyante. Iyong mga gamit namin, hindi na nada-damage. Dati kapag umuulan, kailangang mag-stop ka na magturo kasi hindi ka nila maririnig (I’m delighted that it's much better now, it looks brighter and more orderly. We no longer have issues with leaks. And since there are now partitions, learning is more controlled, and students can focus. Our materials are now more protected. In the past, when it rained, I had to stop teaching because they couldn't hear me),” she said.
Beyond the refurbished TLE classroom, another space within BNHS underwent a remarkable transformation — a classroom dedicated to learners with disabilities (LWDs). For Mercy Gorospe, a special education (SPED) teacher, the importance of these refurbished rooms cannot be overstated.
“This room is very helpful to me as a SPED teacher since it is dedicated to the idea of inclusiveness in delivering quality education. Without it, I don’t know where to conduct classes,” Mercy said. “The changes were significant when an inclusive room was assigned to us. It became fully functional for assisting learners with disabilities. Having this room is truly a blessing — a big help for inclusive education.”
In Mercy’s eyes, education stands as a potent equalizer in society, especially for those with disabilities. She passionately advocates for improved facilities since these play a pivotal role in advancing the cause of quality education.
With this inclusive room now under her stewardship, Mercy currently oversees the education of 48 LWDs who now have a secure and nurturing space to learn, grow, and thrive.
Advocating for education and sustainable progress
The transformation of these classrooms was made possible through the Hedcor Group’s (Hedcor) “Adopt-a-School” program, which is a testament to its efforts of helping advance business and communities beyond its main role as a generator of clean electricity.
Hedcor, a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower), has generated renewable energy through run-of-river hydropower systems for more than four decades.
“We requested for the refurbishment of these classrooms for several years, but nothing happened. Only with Hedcor's initiative were the classrooms finally refurbished!” Diana explained. “It is truly a blessing that we have a reliable and like-minded partner in Hedcor.”
In addition to the refurbishment efforts, Hedcor extended a helping hand to students who achieved top academic rankings through financial incentives
For Adrian Palsiyeng, the top student of his grade 12 cookery class, the cash grant proved to be a lifeline for him and his parents. Pursuing his chosen senior highschool strand demanded a significant financial commitment, and the grant played a crucial role in funding his practical classes and exams. Beyond the financial aspect, it served as a source of motivation, reinforcing the idea that hard work and determination are the keys to success.
“This scholarship made us realize that our academic hardships are worth it. Aside from that, we need to really work hard for everything we want because there is no easy pass in the world. Any additional blessing, like cash assistance, is a welcome relief,” Adrian shared.
Dazzle Suerte, Adrian’s classmate and another top student, echoed similar sentiments. The cash assistance not only lightened her financial load but also fueled her determination to continue to excel academically. She utilized the cash grant to fund her practical assessment, ensuring that her education continued unhampered.
“Programs like this encourage us to strive harder to become top students. We thank companies such as Hedcor for helping us lift our burden,” Dazzle said.
Hedcor actively nurtures and supports the aspirations of young minds, recognizing that investing in the future of students like Adrian and Dazzle is also an investment in a brighter tomorrow. Through initiatives like these, Hedcor supports the idea that education is a powerful catalyst for change and progress.
“It takes a community”
Grateful for the initiatives undertaken by Hedcor and the Aboitiz Group, Dr. Bivian Cuh-ing, the school principal of BNHS, expressed her heartfelt appreciation.
“I would like to thank Hedcor and Aboitiz for all the help you have provided to our school. I believe that the education of a child encompasses the entire community. The school is an integral part of such. This means that the advantages of these improvements reinforce that mission and extend to the community," Dr. Bivian said.
In return for the generous support, the school expressed its commitment to diligently maintain the refurbished facilities.
“They (students and teachers) are enjoying their learning experience. With the improved facilities, they are not only happier but also equipped with the necessary resources. They find themselves in an enhanced learning environment, and our teachers are in an optimal position to effectively impart knowledge,” Dr. Bivian observed.
The transformation of these classrooms transcends mere architectural renovation; it symbolizes hope, resilience, and the transformative power of collective efforts. Hedcor’s vision stretches far beyond energy provision; it's about illuminating the path to education and renewal, ensuring that communities are also empowered with the resources they need to flourish.
As the students and teachers of BNHS step into these refurbished classrooms, they step closer to a world where quality education is no longer a distant aspiration but a tangible reality. This transformation, guided by Hedcor's exemplary leadership, underscores that education is an investment in a brighter and more promising future for all.
This article was written by Angelo A. Sanchez for Manila Bulletin.
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