Good Education or Bust!

Good Education or Bust!

By Maridol Rañoa-Bismark

It was John F. Kennedy who said that “a child miseducated is a child lost.”

That’s why we parents work ourselves to the bone to give our child the best education we can afford. Let’s face it, good schools – with the exception of state-run universities where admission is tough – cost a lot. But most good things do. After all, a good education, unlike a house and lot, jewelry, and the most expensive car, cannot be stolen. It stays with you forever. You can even pass it on to your children, and they can pass it on to the next generation. It’s an heirloom of a different, more lasting kind.

How many humble men have triumphed from poverty because they refused to accept their lot and sought good education as a way out of dire straits?

Former presidents Ramon Magsaysay and Diosdado Macapagal were born poor, but they worked hard at getting the education that helped make them the top officials of the land.

The father of Sen. Manny Villar, one of the richest men in the country, got a job promotion after he got a year-long scholarship for higher education in the U.S.  The senator himself returned to his alma mater, the University of the Philippines, for a Masters degree in Business Administration.

Eight-division world champion and Sarangani congressman Manny Pacquaio dropped out of high school because of poverty. However, he took the high school equivalency exam that made him eligible to go to college. He is now taking up Business Management.

Manny is already on top of his game. He has everything. But he knew that getting a good education is one way of improving himself. Education, after all, as Aristotle says, is the mother of leadership. And a resume studded with degrees from reputable schools is a sure passport, not just to a job, but to a respectable position in any company.

In these tough times when competition for jobs is very keen, a degree from a good school is crucial. It will spell the difference between getting a job and staying at home, waiting for that all-important interview. It will distinguish the productive from the non-productive; the esteemed individual from the so-so. The productive ones lead more meaningful lives. They are happier since they contribute more to society. The non-productive ones turn drifters; neither here nor there in a world that’s already confusing as it is.

The choice is ours.  Do we let our children’s minds go fallow by giving them education that is less than what they deserve? Or do we develop their rich imagination and quench their thirst for learning by giving them good, priceless education? Just as important, do we develop in them a love for learning that will stay with them, even after they’re done with college and earning well?

For those of us who want only the best for our children, there is no choice. It’s good education–and a love for learning–or bust.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Every Child’s Birthright

Every Child’s Birthright

By Ruth Manimtim-Floresca

One of the many things I thank my parents for is making sure my siblings and I finish college. Like my Nanay and Tatay, I believe that having a good education is a big factor in a person’s future. That is why my husband and I also dream to see our sons get good jobs or put up a thriving business someday so they can, in turn, be able to raise their families well.

Having knowledge about many things can help a person make good choices because decisions should be made after all angles are considered. This is not always possible if one has limited information. Sure, we don’t, and won’t, learn everything in school. But going through a structured educational system at least guarantees you won’t miss out as much compared to those who didn’t go to school at all, or stopped going to school earlier than they should.

Among the various advocacies I support, I particularly have a soft spot for children’s education. Hubby and I sponsor a child each through World Vision because we’ve seen how our donations, no matter how small, are making an impact in the lives of two children, their families, and their communities.

I am optimistic that if only every Filipino child, the leaders of the future, could have a good education, our country would have a brighter tomorrow. Of course, included there should be good values that will also give them the heart and compassion to help others, not just themselves, when the right time comes.

This March and April, three of my sons are graduating from elementary, high school, and college. I feel this sense of joy and accomplishment for getting them through this far. I know, we still have a long way to go but the foundation is already there. And I will continue supporting my kids as much as I can in reaching their full potentials by making sure they all finish school and improve their chances of having the good lives every parent dreams of for their children.

Photo by HiveBoxx on Unsplash

Sharing Stories

Sharing Stories

By Rossana L. Llenado

Today is very special as we celebrate International Women’s Month and the first year anniversary of Smart Super Women.

We started S, as we fondly call it, to serve as a forum for smart super ladies to inspire other equally bright and busy women.

We asked people we admire to share with us their stories.

We asked leaders to share with us the secret of their success. We asked them to trace their roots, to speak to us about their vision, and to share with us their triumphs and tribulations.

We asked parents to share with us  how they raise their children. We asked them how they became so strong as they dealt with the challenges of modern parenting. Does your being strong benefit your children? Do you want your daughter to be as strong as you are?  These are the questions that we asked of them, the answers of which they gladly gave us.

We asked single successful career women to share with us the choices that they had to make. We asked them to tell us about the joys of freedom and independence and about how they sometimes had to conquer the specter of loneliness.

We asked everybody to share with us the events of their daily lives. What gives them joy? What matters to them, what concerns them, what jolts them into feeling?

By asking these questions, these leaders, parents, and women showed off the brilliance that is their education. Indeed, in one story after another, we saw how a good education proved to be the final touch that spurred a person to excellence and achievement.

This we did for the last 365 days.  They wrote. We posted. We shared.

Each essay is a celebration of one woman and of all women.

We hope to bring more inspiring essays in the coming years.  And we invite all of you to share your story, so that there will be more Smart Super Women out there.

Coming Home to a Different School

Coming Home to a Different School

By Julie Javellana-Santos

I just attended the alumni homecoming of my high school. It’s been almost 31 years since I left that school. And my classmates and I were nostalgic about how the school looked different, but was somehow still the same.

The chairs in the school auditorium were still the same steel folding chairs we sat on during our graduation, albeit repainted several times over. The drinking fountain where we would satisfy our thirst with lukewarm water on hot days was still there, down to the yellowing tiles and antiquated taps. No mineral water or filtered water for us then—just plain old ‘Nawasa (National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority) juice’ as we called it.

The girls I grew up with were different, though. Many had put on a pound here and there. On the contrary, others had lost weight and were positively scrawny. Still others proudly sported brand new nose jobs.

Through the years, there would be times when I’d bump into someone who said, “I know your face, I just can’t remember your name. But it’s here somewhere.” I guess the popularity of caesarian births and general anesthesia was as much to blame for this forgetfulness as simple old age.

Listening to my classmates criticize the program, though, I guess not much had changed. Many times before, we would gather for a program in that very same auditorium, on those very same chairs, and nitpick over the order of the day. Closing my eyes, I could imagine those same girls in blue and white uniforms, wearing standard black shoes and bored expressions. The voices around me were the same voices back in high school. The criticisms were the same: the program was boring, her skirt was too short, the food not good …

And yet, everything was different.

The classrooms across the yard are now of a different color. Where once a single row of classrooms stood, there’s now a four-storey building. Fences were all around—not just wooden, decorative ones but bars, preventing the wayward child from leaving the premises and strangers from entering the grounds.

Most of all, the girls were no longer young students, but familiar faces sporting monumental eyebags, a couple of pounds, and prominent noses.

Everything had changed, but it seemed to be for the better. The classrooms now had LCD projectors, the school grotto was more orderly and freshly landscaped, the school piano had been refurbished, the auditorium’s comfort rooms had been renovated… all courtesy of the school’s generous alumni. Hopefully, the improvements would not end this year. Hopefully, there would be more next year.

The school may have changed a lot since I was there, but what hasn’t changed was how studying in those rooms helped me become the person that I am. And that is a gift that I would always treasure.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

How Parents Really Feel About Those College Entrance Tests

By Karen Galarpe

I craned my neck to scan the crowd for a familiar face. So many high school seniors have been spilling out onto the sidewalk on Taft Avenue in Manila right after they took the De La Salle University College Entrance Test (DLSUCET) last Sunday night. Some of them were smiling, while some looked serious.

Ang hirap naman ng exam! Puro word problems! Mas madali pa ang ACET!” one guy said, talking to someone on his cellphone. (The ACET refers to the Ateneo College Entrance Test.)

Madali lang. Mas mahirap pa ang ACET, pero pinakamahirap ang UPCAT,” said my son when we finally met up. (UPCAT, on the other hand, is the University of the Philippines College Admission Test.)

I found it sweet to see a mom smiling from ear to ear as her daughter was telling her something. And then there was the touching scene where a daughter held on to her dad’s arm, a latte in the other hand, while they walked. She was talking about the exam animatedly, while her dad beamed from ear to ear.

This has been the pattern, more or less, for the past few months as many college hopefuls have started taking those competitive college entrance exams at the country’s top universities. Parents would anxiously wait right outside exam venues, and would be all ears to find out how their children did.

At the University of the Philippines (UP) campus last August, thousands of parents and family members (with some of them even bringing their pet dogs as well) congregated outside UPCAT venues throughout the campus as the examinees went out. The anxiety written on parents’ faces would change to pride and joy as soon as their sons and daughters emerged from the gates.

The same scenario was seen in the next exam, that of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) that same month. Then it was replicated at the Ateneo de Manila University last September and DLSU last Sunday. Before the month is over, UST will have its second UST Entrance Test (USTET) for high school seniors.

If students are nervous about these tests, so are their parents, believe me. Every parent wants only the best for her child, and a good education, they say, is the best legacy a parent can give. Of course, most parents want their children to get the best university education there is, thus the shared anxiety during this season.

Come January next year, expect to see ecstatic status messages on Facebook from parents of college hopefuls as universities start releasing the lists of those who got admitted to their campuses. To see one’s child get into the university of his dreams – that would be a milestone along with the great moments of all time: the day a child made his first step, celebrated his first birthday, went to school for the very first time, attended his first prom, and graduated from high school. Someday, in the far far future, we hope, would be the first relationship, the wedding, and the first grandchild for us. But that seems like light years away. For now, there is college, and so we wait.