The third and final batch of Public School Teachers from Navotas National High School gone through the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey (NCALJ), last March 14 and 15, 2015. The thirty-four (34) teachers spent two-days reflecting on their personal inspirations for becoming a teacher and their own experiences of being loved by their family, friends, co-workers, and students.
Focusing on NCAF’s core value of spiritual-leadership, taken from Ninoy and Cory’s own legacy of faith-centered servanthood, the teachers also listened to various speakers, all whom shared their own testimonies and insights on teaching. Onofre Pagsanghan, or Sir Pagsi, as he is more fondly called, opened the program by sharing from his more than sixty years of teaching experience: “There is, in all of us, a search for meaning in our lives. We were all made by God for a purpose.” Afterwards, Culiat Elementary School Science Teacher Sabrina Ongkiko shared the many lessons she had learned from her students: “Although the straight path is the easiest, life’s journey is broken, but beautiful. [My students] taught me to appreciate the twists and turns of life – all the beautiful things God has in store there.”
On the second day, Principal Juanita Alajar from Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma High School (Payatas, Quezon City) and Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Rizalino Rivera shared their stories with the teachers. Principal Alajar invited the teachers to practice “malasakit” (Filipino term for compassion) not only to their students, but also to their fellow-teachers, as well as their own families and friends. Mr. Rivera, on the other hand, encouraged the teachers to continue teaching with heart and their full effort, knowing that the people in DepEd are fighting for their rights and well-being.
The participants were also given a chance to express their realizations from the Journey weekend. One teacher, Ms. Coleen Amar, shared: “In everything that we do, we have to put our love there. We must be able to show our passion in what we do, to our fellow-teachers, principals, and students. We must teach with love.” Science Department Head, Florabel Santos, likewise shared that, “What struck us the most was the statement: the call to teach is the call to love. And when we want to love back it means it must translate to action. Now, we go back to our school holding on to these thoughts, aspiring to be a servant, as Christ is a servant to us.”
Afterwards, Navotas National High School Principal, Dr. Cristina Robles, together with the previous NCALJ Teacher-Companions from Batches 1 and 2, welcomed the Batch 3 participants. Each batch took turns in giving testimonies regarding their own Journey experience, as well as sharing messages of gratitude to NCAF and other partners who made the program possible.
The Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF) traces its roots to the Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. Foundation (BSAF), established by the late Senator’s widow in November 1983 to perpetuate his legacy. It seeks to build on the legacy of Ninoy and Cory Aquino by supporting activities that embody the spirit of People Power as a strong and positive force for social change in a robust democracy. Since 2008, the Foundation has made a deliberate effort to strengthen this advocacy through leadership formation development.
Navotas National High School (NNHS)
Founded in 1983 by Mayor Victor Javier, Navotas National High School, located at Barangay Sipac Almacen, Navotas, is home to over four thousand students. Through the leadership of Dr. Maria Cristina A. Robles, NNHS has made great leaps in teaching innovations and alternative learning practices, in fact, in 2012, NNHS was nominated for the DOST search for innovative practices in managing classes and won 2nd place in Excellence in Educational Transformation Awards.
The school’s thrust is to develop a new breed of morally upright individuals – disciplined, empowered, adaptive, and responsive to the changing environment. Equipped with the balance of knowledge, skills, and positive personal and social values, cultivated by their teachers and school officials, NNHS students are able to give genuine service to their families, communities, and country for the promulgation God’s infinite love for all.