Eighteen Management students and the SoM staff joined me in my public service to Victoria Elementary School, Barangay Victoria, San Remigio, Cebu.
When we arrived at the site around 12:30 PM (Figure 1), the Grade 6 students were already waiting for us. After settling down and formal introductions with the Principal, Mrs. Austrelina Monzales, we started the 3-hour activity. Figure 2 shows the Grade 6 students and their parents.
Figure 1: I (in the middle) and the students upon arrival at the Victoria Elementary School around 12:30 PM.
Figure 2: The Grade 6 students (in front) and their parents standing at the back while waiting for the activity to start.
During my opening remarks (Figure 3), I explained to them the ‘who,’
‘why’ and ‘what’ we were going to do. The primary reason why I was in San Remigio was to encourage the elementary students to dream big (e.g., finish college in UP) and for the parents to support the dream of their Grade 6 children. I told them that finishing college is one of the ways to improve their status in life. The activity was also to let the public (i.e., Victoria elementary school principal, teachers, students, and the parents) know that UP cares for them. Finally, this activity was also an excellent learning moment for the UP Management students who were helping me. I wanted my students to experience serving the public and to stress the point that a UP education is not only for self-gain but should be used to help the country as a whole.
Figure 3: During my opening remarks
The following pictures show the activities that we conducted.
Figure 4: Third-year Management student, JP, shared his life journey to UP.
Figure 5: Management students are conducting the games for the Grade 6 students and their parents to break the ice.
Figure 6: Elementary students and parents were divided into smaller groups to talk about their dreams and finishing college.
Figure 7: Small group session
I was most of the time with the Elementary School Principal Mrs. Austerlina A. Monzales (Figure 8). It warms the heart, and at the same time breaks my heart, to hear her keep saying over and over again how grateful she was that UP visited their elementary school. She kept repeating that this was the first time that any school visited them to spend time with her students (Figure 9).
Figure 8: With the Victoria Elementary School Principal, Mrs. Monzales.
Figure 9: UP working team with the elementary school participants.
Personally, this activity was a humbling experience. Many times, UP teachers and students take for granted the privilege of being able to work and study in a premier school. It is sad when the national university is too inwardly looking without taking into consideration the challenges and struggles that the other public schools are facing.
I believe the public service was a success. First, the Victoria Elementary School felt that UP does care, through the acts of the School of Management; and second, my students learned two valuable lessons: they are privileged, and because of this privilege is given to them, they have the capacity and the calling to serve the less fortunate.
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