By: Ednalyn E. Fajardo, Master Teacher II/District ALS Coordinator (Pulungmasle Elementary School, Guagua, Pampanga)
Allan M. Delos Reyes, a District Alternative Learning System (ALS) Coordinator in Minalin, Pampanga, has lots of stories to tell.
Years before he reaped his roster of accolades – Most Outstanding District ALS Coordinator of Pampanga 2010; Most Outstanding Informal Education Trainer of Pampanga 2011; Most Outstanding Minaleno Awardee 2016; Most Outstanding Kapampangan Awardee 2017; Civil Service Commission (CSC) Regional Pag-asa Awardee in 2017 (group category); Amb. Antonio Chua Cabangon Gintong Parangal Para sa Edukasyon National Awardee 2017; and National ALS Teachers Achievement and Recognitions (NALSTAR) Regional Awardee 2018 – he was a struggling student who fervently dreamed of becoming a teacher someday.
His genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of the youth fueled his determination to finish his studies and excel in his chosen field. So much so that he worked as a gasoline boy and later on, a fast-food chain crew, just to make ends meet. Now, he is the one fueling the hopes and dreams of out-of-school youth and adults through ALS.
What makes Sir Allan’s teaching journey a cut above the rest is how he strived to first serve his own town the best way he can – touching and bringing hope to the less fortunate. With a deep sense of patriotism, he believes that it is of prime importance to serve the people, particularly the youth. After five years of employment in a private school, he was given an opportunity to go back to the community and teach in a public school, which further stoked his hopes and enthusiasm. It was a dream come true for him.
Because of his hard work and dedication to service, he was later appointed as a District ALS Coordinator. But he was surprised to learn of the education sector’s challenges first-hand – inadequate funding and resources, absenteeism in learners, and indifference among some community members. Sir Allan knew that he could not turn a blind eye on such problems, and he was resolute to contribute something.
The now 40-year-old teacher did not need a usual classroom to hold his classes for ALS learners. He believes that learning can happen anytime, anywhere. He teaches inside chapels, nipa huts, and makeshift tents, and travels by boat from one community to another. This gave birth to his “Eskwela king pALaSdan” or school in the fishpond – an ALS Community Learning Center located at the center of a fishpond catering to fisher folks and their children.
For the past 15 years, Sir Allan has conscientiously and persistently championed three program thrusts namely, functional literacy, livelihood skills development, and values development by providing meaningful learning opportunities to out-of-school youth and adults.
Sir Allan further believes that at the end of every struggle awaits sweet triumph. He hopes that students will learn from his life lessons, and will be inspired to continue reaching for their dreams and aspirations despite poverty and difficult circumstances.