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Beckel School in La Trinidad, Benguet harnesses the power of cooperation to nurture a child- friendly community
July 25, 2023
As the sun rises above the horizon, casting a warm glow on the Silid Pangarap classroom at Beckel Elementary School in La Trinidad, Benguet, teacher Arlyn Eddio stands with more confidence, filled with hopeful anticipation and a positive outlook for the future. With 13 years of teaching experience and a deep passion for nurturing young minds, every day brings forth a new chapter in her career. The Aklat, Gabay, Aruga tungo sa Pag-angat at Pag-asa (AGAPP) building, home of the Silid Pangarap and which is solely for the use of kindergarten students, has empowered teacher Arlyn to help nurture a child-friendly environment that allows kids to discover their true potential even at a young age.
Stepping into the vibrant space of the Silid Pangarap, teacher Arlyn is greeted by colorful displays of artwork. The room resonates with the sound of laughter and eager voices from her students. Transformed into a haven of learning, the facility offers children the opportunity to explore, create, and grow under the guidance of dedicated educators like her.
The AGAPP building was finished in September 2013 and its classrooms, including the Silid Pangarap, have accommodated more and more kindergarten students through the years. Since its opening, it has served a total of 670 students. Its first year accommodated 63 students, while the highest number of enrollees was recorded at 79. The recent school year had 73 kindergarten students enrolled.
Reflecting on the challenges faced before the AGAPP building’s existence, teacher Arlyn recalled how they previously had to borrow what space can be afforded to her and her students.
“Nakikihiram pa kami ng classroom sa principal’s office at sa home economics ng high school building. Hindi makapag-concentrate ang mga bata kasi may naririnig silang ingay sa kabilang room (We used to borrow a classroom from the principal's office and another one from the home economics section of the high school building. The kids couldn't concentrate well because they could hear noise from the adjacent room),” teacher Arlyn shared.
These served as hindrances to the students' ability to learn. However, with the completion of Silid Pangarap, they were blessed with a complete learning setup.
“‘Yung wala pa ‘yung building, nagtuturo kami na konti lamang ang aming resources, pati yung mga classroom namin kulang-kulang din. Iyong mga books, kaunting story books lang, kaunting toys. Pero noong tinurn-over ‘yung building, complete set siya — may mga chairs, tables, may mga libro, at mayroon ding blocks (When we didn't have the building yet, we were teaching with only a few resources; even the classrooms were inadequate. We only had a few books, a few storybooks, and a few toys. But when the building was turned over, it was a complete set — there were chairs, tables, books, and even blocks),” teacher Arlyn said.
Since then, the days of classroom shortages and uncomfortable learning environments for the kindergarten students at Beckel Elementary School were a thing of the past.
A Teacher’s Journey
For teacher Arlyn, her role as an educator goes beyond teaching. She considers herself a second parent to the children of Beckel and, in a way, a caretaker of the Silid Pangarap, having been a witness to its inception and construction in 2013.
The AGAPP building played a crucial role in her life — a “blessing in disguise” — as it provided her with stability after it led to her promotion to a permanent teaching role from being a volunteer-teacher for three years prior to the construction.
“Thankful ako sa building na ito kasi kung hindi dahil dito, baka hindi pa siguro ako naging pursigido na maging permanent teacher (I am thankful for this building because if it weren't for this building, maybe I wouldn't have been persistent in becoming a permanent teacher),” Teacher Arlyn said.
After the building's turnover, teacher Arlyn attended a seminar in Manila, where she gained invaluable insights into using structural materials and psychology to teach kindergarten students. Among the lessons learned, she emphasized the importance of patience, connecting with the children's hearts, and nurturing her own mental well-being amidst the unique challenges of teaching young people.
The impact of the Silid Pangarap extends beyond individual student growth. Teacher Arlyn witnessed the power of cooperation, camaraderie, and community building within Beckel Elementary School.
Members of the surrounding community generously offered their time, resources, and talents to beautify the school building. Aside from supporting their children and allowing the young ones to form friendships with their classmates, parents actively participate in maintaining the cleanliness and upkeep of the building. This collective effort has strengthened the community spirit, allowing everyone to have a “stake” in the school’s success.
“Nagtutulungan ang buong komunidad para siguruhin na maayos ang school. Minsan, ang mga parents pa mismo ang nag-aayos kung may mga masira kagamitan sa classroom (The entire community is helping make sure that everything within the school is in good order. Sometimes, parents even take the initiative to fix things if something gets broken in the classroom),” teacher Arlyn observed.
Driver of Progress
Composed of two classrooms furnished with tables, chairs, cabinets, a mini library, and toys, and equipped with a toilet, Silid Pangarap is a project of Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) subsidiary Hedcor Inc. (Hedcor), a leading renewable energy company specializing in run-of-river hydropower systems. It was made possible through its “Adopt-a- School” program in collaboration with the AGAPP Foundation.
Hedcor supports the improvement of education facilities and opportunities in partner communities. Its valuable assistance to Beckel Elementary School, including the construction of Silid Pangarap and the AGGAP building and various gift-giving initiatives, showcases the power of partnerships in advancing education and empowering communities.
“Hedcor’s Silid Pangarap supports the government's call to address the need for better education facilities and opportunities, especially in far-flung communities. Hedcor believes that in order to advance and uplift communities, we have to harness the power of education,” said Hedcor president and COO Rolando Pacquiao.
The success of the Adopt-a-School program is proof that collaboration between a company and a community, driven by dedicated educators like teacher Arlyn, would yield fruitful and long-lasting results.
Grateful for the opportunities provided by Hedcor and AboitizPower, teacher Arlyn envisions a future where her students continue to grow, succeed, and make a positive impact in the world as confident, compassionate, and resilient Filipinos.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa Aboitiz at sa Hedcor para sa mga pinatayo nilang classrooms na nakakatulong, hindi lamang sa komunidad, kundi pati na rin sa mga teacher at lalo na sa mga bata (We are grateful to Aboitiz and Hedcor for the classrooms they have built that have helped not only the community, but also the teachers and especially the kids).”
As the sun sets on Silid Pangarap, teacher Arlyn's heart swells with pride and optimism. With unwavering dedication, she looks forward to witnessing the continued growth of her young students, praying that their future paths in life are filled with professional successes and personal stability. These dreams can only be realized if they feel the loving support of an empowered community and the transformative power of education.
This article was written by Angelo Sanchez and first appeared on Manila Bulletin.
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