A Story of Great Harvest
A Great Harvest
Today, I write about the benefits I consider great harvest from the experiences I had when I was working for the school publications in high school and college. Such experiences have undeniably been a big advantage on my part as a person and as a professional. I say, these experiences have shaped me in my present mold.
Jokingly, I would laugh at how I applied to be a member of the publication staff dreaming not of being a writer but only as a typist. I would always give credit to my parents who at my very young age of eight taught me to tick the keys of what I consider now as 'jurassic' typewriter (deadened by rust). The skill I acquired in typing had been my passport to become the typist of our high school publication, The Bicol Craftsman of then the Camarines Sur National College of Arts and Trades (now the Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges-Naga Campus). I was a second year high school then when I applied to be a staff member.
Our adviser then, Mr. Cecilio Andujar, saw how I did my job and later encouraged me to write anything I was capable of writing. I did try to submit one in English which did not land on any of the pages of our paper. Then I tried to etch some lines of a poem in Filipino which won his approval and it was enough encouragement for me to try some more. It was printed with a background our cartoonist made. That was where I started.
In the next two years of my being a staffwriter, I was no longer a typist, I was editor of vocational articles. In my last year, I was managing editor. These posts had assured me something, that I could write and I could do it well.
I could always recall how our advisers, Miss Araceli Carreras and Mrs. Merle Borja, had served as inspiration to me (this I only say now) because of the opportunity given me to compete in the field of journalism. I competed in editorial writing, feature writing and sports reporting. Fortunately, I won tenth place in editorial writing in the regional level which qualified me to compete in the national level during the most historic People Power Revolution in 1986. We, Wenifredo Valdez, Zarah Jane Borja, and Leila Laceda, were at Barotac Nuevo National Comprehensive High School, Iloilo for the said competition.
After graduation from high school, the college publication was again a good temptation for me. I took the test and passed, was given an assignment as news editor but did not report for work due to the transition I was experiencing in my college life.
During my second year as an education student, I got serious with my application and became the news editor again but I was not confined to news writing. I tried writing many articles from editorials to features, even poetry. They all saw print and got enough boost.
The following year, upon seeing our dedication and commitment to work, Dr. Amelia S. Rey, our moderator, proposed to give us scholarship after hurdling a gruelling test. I became chief editor for two years and earned full scholarship. Yes, it helped ease my financial burdens as those were trying times for my family who had been saddled with many financial obligations because the eight of us in the family were all in school - three in college, four in high school and one in elementary.
While with the college publication, I had this chance of writing a short story for a magazine of local circulation which gave me a check worth three hundred pesos and a copy of the magazine. Happiness was over my head.
After graduation from college, I worked as an information writer at the Provincial Governor's Office for a year that offered me a different experience of writing news both in Bicol and English because those articles were used in radio broadcast and print media. I enjoyed it as I consider writing to be my first love.
I thought I would no longer exercise my love for writing in the school as a teacher. My specialization as an Industrial Arts teacher had not become my turf because I was only given one load and the rest were all English subjects. I taught English for more than ten years. Within those years, I had become the schools' publication adviser starting with my first school, Coguit Provincial High School in Balatan where I put up 'The Seashore' to Palsong High National School with 'The Palsong Point' and 'Ang Panan-aw.'
Modesty aside, these experiences built for me and my schools a name that up to this moment would be remembered in the field of journalism. Students whom I coached in copyreading and headline writing, cartooning, news writing, feature writing, photojournalism, sports reporting and editorial writing had been perennial winners from the congressional level to the national level. Their experiences with me had made them also better competitors in college publication. One had become the college publication chief editor, others as section editors. These made me happy; they were part of my harvest.
The strings of awards these two schools had earned were enough inspiration for me to write and capacitate other writers, too. These awards included the distinction as one of the Best School Papers in high school (seven regional awards and five national awards in seven years from 1999 to 2005) not to mention the award, Outstanding School Paper Adviser of the Philippines, which I earned during the National Schools Press Conference in Lapu-lapu City in 2003 after having been awarded Outstanding School Paper Adviser of the Bicol Region in 2002 and the highest award that a school paper adviser could win.
As I work now as a school head, the thought that I was shaped through the school publication is a celebration of my gratitude for the gifts I received including the people who taught me the rudiments of writing. That I have to mention my parents and aunt, my teachers in elementary, high school and college, my bosses in the provincial capitol, co-workers and students in the DepEd for the rich encouragement and opportunities for growing.
I have not forgotten my first love. At Pambuhan High School in Garchitorena, we put up The Sisiran in 2005 when I was school head of that school for just more than a year in 2005 to 2006. At Presentacion National High School (formerly Pili High School in Parubcan, we revived The Hilltop and succeeded to win support from the community who had been our advertisers just to sustain the life of the publication. Now in Tambo High School of Buhi, teachers have been encouraged to train students for competitions in journalism and for two years had reached the regional level. We have Tambuhay for our school publication.
My gratitude to many people because of my coming and becoming humbles me yet magnifies my desire to learn some more, expand and explore more because I have always been a firm believer that my life on earth is that of a perpetual student who moment by moment learns and connects to the world of experiences.
My experiences with the publications I was involved since high school to present are sufficient contributions to sustain my journey. They had and continuously become my sources of renewal.
For the rest of my experiences, I would like to celebrate life as a gift, and that gift be shared, and that the sharing is a respect for those who were instrumental in my growth, and that giving them respect is already my gesture of gratitude. Thank you very much.
Gratitude is mirrored in both the beautiful and ugly things in life. - Don B. Balderas Jr.