|APC graduation 2012, learning for community|
|Monday, 30 April 2012|
Pedro Walpole, SJ
Today, we celebrate the graduation of 11 children who studied in the culture of the Pulangiyen and communities in the adjacent talugan (watershed).They follow the tradition of Apu Palamguwan Cultural Education Center (APC) - learning being for the good of the community, not simply the individual.
This is the ninth graduation where children can be directly admitted for high school without taking placement exams. So we have had about 100 graduates, many of whom have found the opportunity to go to high school.
This is also the 20th year since people began in earnest to have education in Bendum. We celebrate this May the community's construction of a classroom where a log deck had fallen into disuse. Twenty years of hope and effort resulted in many graduates, not just from grade school and high school, but also from college. Many more youth returned home to live in their communities and contribute to the life and security of those who live together. We also have six graduates this year from high school.
This last semester presented the most basic challenge of securing the daily continuity of school operations, as we were twice interrupted by the presence of arms in the village. All need to understand the importance of having no arms present in the area. It is not just the possibility of crossfire, accident or drawing attack, but any such power does not give us meaningful peace, and furthermore children do not benefit from mimicking such actions.
The teachers played a valuable role in identifying the important objective of continuing the classes uninterrupted and were able to ask those with arms to leave the area for the greater good. This showed a unity and integrity in how the teachers acted, setting the basis for maintaining in the future the stability needed.
During the year, we deeply missed Jenny Lyn Lee, our program manager, who had to leave to be with her family. We are deeply grateful for the support she developed for the program and the solid management reference she established. Femie Faller of Ateneo de Davao University stayed with us during the year and gave strength to sustaining the critical lesson plans for each semester.
The classes continued the other side of the Pulangi in Nabawang with strength; the next phase presents us with many challenges we must work at.
Didang and Buging are on study in Malaybalay, taking education courses and hopefully returning back to the communities to use what they have learned.
And happening all around these is Hulas, the two-month youth skills program, and the Tapok, the youth gathering for peace. These give strength to the integrity of the work as a whole.
People from the national and regional offices of the Department of Education have visited many times and we have talked with them in Manila. They value the approach to local-based education and see its importance under their program of multilingual education. They understand the difficulties with managing to set up the standards and maintain them through competencies and lesson plans. They want to use the lessons learned here in other places and they ask for our assistance.
So where are we in APC going in the year ahead?
Summer break follows, including a short break for the teachers, after which they are back to prepare for the next school year. There is the construction of a new kinder room allowing space for a science room and a new set of comfort rooms. We look forward to more work on the curriculum and development of reading materials in the language. We welcome Maribel Porras as our new program manager to lead us in these efforts.
Enrolment for the next school year will be on 30 and 31 May and classes start Monday, 4 June. I am hoping to see all the younger grade children return and expect more children who are not in school to be encouraged to study. To the graduates, congratulations and bring with you what you have learned in APC and the good memories. As you continue your journey in life, draw from its strength when you feel weak. Seek always the truth of the situation as you make decisions and be a source of peace.
Keynote message given by APC Executive Director Pedro Walpole to the 2012 graduates of APC last 12 April 2012 and reprinted from APC.
|Last Updated ( Monday, 30 April 2012 )|