By: Carol Bolo Pagaran, Teacher III (Don Vicente Rama Memorial Elementary School, Division of Cebu City)
“Amidst the roughness in the many facets of life, it is always a blessing to continue enjoying the beauty of God’s wonders, and have a prayerful patience to adhere to God’s plan and purpose of our existence. So, be a teacher in His blissful grace even in brokenness,” Morishka Nicole Dela Torre Uy (Teacher Nicole) shared.
In a classroom in Don Vicente Rama Memorial Elementary School in Cebu City, a teacher seemingly captivated her Grade 6 learners. Everyone’s eyes and ears were on her, enthralled with their Araling Panlipunan lesson for the day.
Unmindful of the sweat trickling down her face and the limp in her walk, she eagerly showed her class the computer-aided materials she prepared the night before. No one would have guessed that an artificial leg is supporting this 24-year-old charming and willful educator.
Teacher Nicole survived a devastating motorcycle accident in South Road Properties, Cebu City in July of 2017. With her right leg completely fractured, mid-third humerus displaced, knee traumatically dislocated, and popliteal artery badly injured, the doctor had to amputate the leg, lest she might die of infection.
She could have wallowed in grief and anger, and turned her back to the world. Instead, she made the most out of her rehabilitation leave. While recovering from the operation, she was able to finish the Certificate Program for Elementary Teachers (CPET) at the University of San Jose-Recoletos, Basak campus. CPET is a graduate program for select educators in the Division of Cebu City, funded by the local government. She graduated before the end of 2017, and even received the Resilience Award.
“She exhibits hope to those who feel that they have nothing to hope for anymore. She models exemplary behavior by consistently and persistently showing positivity both in her studies and her personal life,” the College of Education Dean Dr. Jestoni Babia said.
“She is always a catalyst in the learning milieu. She is an intelligent, active, and talented person. She possesses qualities of a 21st century educator,” Cebu Normal University President Dr. Filomena Dayagbil added.
Her limb was broken, but her spirit remained whole because of the outpouring of love and support from her family, colleagues, and friends, even from DepEd Cebu City and the Cebu City government.
Merely six months after the accident, she is back in the classroom, for her pupils missed her and longed for her presence. She is the same, cheerful teacher with her innovative teaching aids and pleasing icebreakers.
Despite that dreadful event and the bitter memento with which she has to walk every single day, she still strives for excellence in her teaching career. In January of 2018, she was promoted as Teacher III. Indeed, what does not destroy us only makes us stronger. With renewed confidence and a prayerful heart, Teacher Nicole emerged victorious.