SKILL FOR A LIVING?
Give man a fish, and he will eat for a day; teach man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime – Anonymous
Rafael Lentejas Memorial School of Fisheries, as the only Technical-Vocational school in the City of Calbayog is committed to provide quality technical-vocational education to its clientele. For more than few decades, it produces graduates who are equipped with various skills needed for a specific job or career. At present, the school is breaking its new ground for piloting the first Senior High School (SHS) program producing graduates who are proficient in food processing and other significant skills.
The first batch of this program graduated last April 2015 at Tacloban City together with other Senior High School graduates from across the region. To mention;
We have heard of many successful stories of these graduates in the present. One of them is Miss Vivian M. Novesio, a resident of barangay Danao I, Calbayog City. Daughter of Mrs. Marites Makabenta and Mr. Domingo Novesio, Vivian was an industrious and diligent student.
When asked about her first impression about the program, she said, “When I heard about the Senior High School Program and knew that it was free, I enrolled right away because I knew that it will help me, and it did. Through the said program, my classmates and I learned many things especially on our major field which is Fish Processing.”
“The program helped me mentally and socially since we learn academic subjects and at the same time learn how to mingle socially with other people especially when it comes marketing our products, and I actually enjoyed it.”, Miss Novesio said when asked about the benefits she gained from the program.
At present, Vivian is pursuing her studies at Northwest Samar State University taking up Bachelor in Secondary Education. She said that it was not a burden of having to spend an additional of two years in high school because it has taught her a lot and prepared her well in the tertiary level. She is more equipped and advanced with knowledge and skills in her basic subjects in College.
Another one is Michelle Bagallon, 30, married, and a mother to a wonderful daughter; another pioneering graduate of SHS last April 2015; earning a National Certificate II (NC II) in Food Processing. Michelle said that she already lost hope of going back to school since she is already married and started rearing a child. When RLMSF modeled for SHS program, she gladly enrolled because of its easy access and is suited to her schedule as a mother and a wife at the same time.
“San akun pagtikang pag-iskwela sa Fisheries sadto nga 2013, damo an akun nahibaruan nga magkadurudilain nga klase san panluto,”(When I started studying in Fisheries back in 2013, I have learned many things about cooking,”) Michelle said as she began reminiscing her 2 years in RLMSF. “Nagtikang na liwat ak panluto siopao, puto, kutsinta, ngan iba pa samtang nag-iiniskwela pa ak sa Fisheries.”Dako gud an nagin bulig san Senior High School Program san paghatag san amun pakabuhi,”(I started cooking siopao, puto, kutsinta and many more while still going to school. Senior High School Program really helps in giving us some source of livelihood.”) Michelle answered when asked about the impact of SHS curriculum to her life.
Endowed with food handling and processing skills, she currently opened a small snack house situated along V. Lentejas Street. She has also started her ‘Salted Egg’ business wherein she harvests 10 trays of eggs in a month supplying several whole sale & retail stores in Tinambacan.
Behind every success story is an embarrassing first effort, a stumble. It’s these first clumsy steps on the road that a native of Barangay Malajog encounters in his daily life.
Alfred Y.Balandray was born and raised in Barangay Malajog, Calbayog City. He was once a cargador carrying a sack of copras in one of their well-of neighbour with the help of his mother, Mrs.Nida Balandray, he was able to finish Junior High School and Senior High School in his very own alma mater RLMSF. He received his NC II certificate in Food Technology Major in Food Processing. Currently, he is now taking up Bachelor in Science in Information Technology in Northwest Samar State University.
Alfred landed his first job at Monterey Meatshop Philam Branch as a sales man but he had worked there for just a month when his employer fired him saying he is too dumb to learn anything and he is incompetent.
“At first when I left my first job, it’s kind of balancing well with this feeling that I had of, ‘Oh my God, what should I do? Am I really useless?’” Alfred says. “And I found comfort, in some ways, when I know my family is there to support me no matter what. They know what I can and what I can’t do. Even if my only option is to go back in carrying a sack of copras, I will still do it.”
Success, he learned, was less a matter of innate talent and more the product of perseverance, a willingness to stumble and stand up again. Alfred, an optimistic person never lets the criticism bring him down rather it gives him courage to fight for his dream.
Another graduate of SHS is Jomar Bansag, 22, single, another graduate of SHS has confessed that he was able to help his parents’ meager income to support his younger siblings through their income generating projects in school. “Kahuman ko hayskul sadto nga 2009 nawarayan na ak paglaum nga makapadayun pa ak pag-iskwela tungod san amun kakurian labi na san na stroke akun nanay. Apisar san akun interes sa pag-aradman, nagin tambay ak san pira ka anyos. San pag-offer san Fisheries san Senior High School , dako an akun kalipay nga natagan tsansa san libre nga pag-aradman kami nga mga pobrehanon nga diri kaya mamasahe ngan magbayad tuition sa mga unibersidad sa siyudad.”(“After graduation from high school, last 2009, I was not able to pursue college because of poverty and my mother’s illness. I am greatly happy that the school offered Senior High School Program that gives chances to poor but interested students like me who cannot afford to finance their daily fare and tuition fees on big universities in the city.”)
With his skills in food preparation; Jomar is currently applying for a job in a restaurant in Saudi Arabia. “An akun NC II sa Food Processing an akun magigin tiket para ak mahingadto sa gawas,”(“My NC II in Food Processing will be my ticket in going abroad,”) when asked about his future career plans. “Hiunong san K-12, nagkaada sin matadung nga direksyon an akun kinabuhi pati na an akun pamilya,”(“My life as well as my family had been given purpose and direction in life because of K-12,”) he added.
Aside from the formal education program, RLMSF bridges the gap between school and community through producing young entrepreneurs who are armed with knowledge of building small business which could provide livelihood opportunities among out of school youths, unemployed men and housewives of Tinambacan and other neighboring barangays.
Last but not the least is Mary Rose Conarco, 23, also affirms of the greater contribution of K-12 SHS skills training in food processing on her present success. Her family owns and manages a small bakeshop in Tinambacan Sur that supplies quite a few barangays in Tinambacan District. “An akun OJT sa Park N’ Go Bakery, in nakabulig gud san dako para mas mapaupay pa an kalidad san amun ginluluto nga mga tinapay,”(My OJT in Park N’ Go really helps us improved the quality of our bread,”) she admitted when asked about the outcome of their immersion among different business establishments in Calbayog before graduation.”Nahibaro ak liwat sin tama nga pagpalakad san amun negosyo. Sa yana kabulig na ak nira mama ngan papa sin pagmanage san amun gutiay nga pakabuhian,”(I have also learned how to manage our own business. At present I am assisting my parents in managing our daily operations,”) she added.
“Nagtikang kami san usa la nga baker ngan nagplete la kami puwesto sa may Tabok, dinhe sa Tinambacan,”(We only have one baker when we started renting a place here in Tinambacan,”) Mary Rose said when asked of their humble beginnings. “Yana naka empleyo na kami dugang nga baker ngan tulo pa nga mga tawohan para san delivery. Lugaring na liwat namon ini nga amun gintindugan san bakery,”(At present, we already owned the place, added another baker and employed three individuals for the delivery,”) she added.
At present, her family’s daily net income ranges from P3,000-P7,000. “Naghihingyap ako san pagpa-uswag pa san ‘Conarco’s Bakery’ agud makabulig ngan makahatag kami opurtunidad san pantrabahuan ngadto san mga Tinambacanon,”(I am hoping to expand ‘Conarco’s Bakery’ in order to give more jobs to the people of Tinambacan,”) she added when asked as to how she envisions herself in the next years to come.
And now, on its second batch, the school is still and will be honing for potential and well equipped students.
In its 44 years of growing existence, Rafael Lentejas Memorial School of Fisheries has indeed contributed much not only in promoting academic excellence among its students but also by preparing its students from their life after school as well as providing the community for varied livelihood opportunities leading to a more productive and progressive society.