OUR BELOVED SCHOOL AND INSPIRING STUDENTS
By Rene Aquino
I am part of the work force of the Bagumbayan National High School assigned at its Barangay Masiag Annex. In just a few months of my exposure to a typical rural setting, I have seen the struggle of the less unfortunate students who struggle to enrich their knowledge at all cost. Many students in the school are practically fending for themselves as farmers. As many of them come from beyond hills, I assume that they wake up at dawn to spend an hour or two in their patches of vegetables or help their parents tend their small rice or corn field etched from what could have been the edge of a forest, or feed one or two domesticated animals, usually hog and goat after which they leave for school, without even a warm gulp of coffee which is considered a luxury in the rural areas. They trek on trails over hills and cross creeks.
Shoes are out of the question, as even a pair of rubber slippers are a priority listed way behind the more necessary food for the family….not even umbrella against the searing sun or pelts of rain. Decent clothes are considered treasures, as even a 20pesos shirt is considered as a big expense. Looking back to my school days, until I graduated from college, I feel super lucky!
Much as I would like to share, there is not much that I could, but make do with whatever little left after scrimping on my monthly wage. My colleagues do the same aside from using some of their hard-earned wage to buy necessary instruction materials.
Our school is a cluster of structures distributed over a rolling landscape. Most school activities especially the parade are done at the barangay plaza, actually, an open space with the ground turning to mud on rainy days and become dusty on summer days.
We love our school. Our young farmer students are looking forward to at least, be part of it until they finish the senior high school….and, for such effort, they sort of become our inspiration to do our best. They endeavor to realize their dream even without breakfast, or even a gulp of warm coffee in the morning before trekking to school, nor a pair of shoes, not even umbrella against the sun and rain….their dream gives them strength and courage to go on!