by Margoh Bronzal dela Paz
I am 17 years old and I am the eldest in the brood of six. My father, Michael, 38, is a tricycle driver in Divisoria, a traditional and quintessential business center of Manila, while my mother, Jean, 37, stays at home to take care of the children. We live in Barangay 108 in Tondo, Manila.
Sometime ago, I learned that Ms. Joanna Marie Merced, a neighbor, is an Instructional Manager (IM) of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI). It was in April of 2015 and I had just finished Grade 7 at the Dr. Juan G. Nolasco High School.
So there is an alternative, I thought. Since I am a bit older than my classmate, something that caused much insecurity on my part, ALS, indeed, became very attractive to me. Another factor is the economic condition of my family. My parents, I am certain, would not mind if I could finish my high earlier so I can help them provide food for the family the soonest possible time.
ALS, I thought, could solve some of our financial burdens.
Although I had some difficulty in coping with my lessons, particularly writing essays, I never considered giving up. I did not want my effort to come to naught. I also did not want to waste this God-given opportunity to finish my studies.
I saw how my father work hard to provide our daily needs. Our financial situation drove me to continue my studies and to do my best. I know education is the key to a better future for me and my family.
So, to achieve my goal, I attended each and every class of ALS. I was attentive and tried to listen hard to the IM’s instructions. I did my homework and I made sure I answered all the questions in the modules.
When I learned I passed the Accreditation and Equivalency examinations, I did not know what to do. I wanted to shout and jump for joy. Actually, I could not remember if I did. I would not be surprised if I actually did it. The happiness I felt at that moment was indescribable. All my efforts bore gold.
Now that I am an ALS passer, my next move is to enter the university, study even harder and achieve my dream of becoming a dedicated law enforcer or police officer.
If life is an Olympic event—a race—then, I am ready! I am set! And I definitely will go for the gold!
(Translated from Filipino to English by Glenda B. Gutierrez)