On July 30, 2021, 21 ALS learners from Pugad Tibaguin CDP graduated and were recognized in a virtual commencement exercise spearheaded by ALS in Hagonoy West District.
John Justine Antonio is one of the ALS graduates and a sponsored child for almost nine years until today. Despite circumstances in his life, education has been important to him to achieve his dreams.
He has three siblings and is the eldest among them. His mother is the only one supporting their daily need as a fish drying helper because his father is already a senior citizen. They have been financially challenged which made him stop at Grade 8 in junior high school.
In 2020, he pursued his school and enrolled through the Department of Education-Alternative System (ALS) Program. During this time, one of the challenges he had to endure was working while studying.
He needed to work hard to support his studies by helping in fish drying and as a manicurist. Sometimes, before the pandemic, his classmates or teachers were his customers after they have a class. This helped him have an extra budget for other school expenses at the same time helped his mother provide for their everyday needs. During their blended learning, he adapted to changes such as learning through utilizing social media and other online platforms.
Now, John Justine has completed and graduated at the junior high school level for the school year 2019-2020 and is now an incoming Senior High School student. His success to finish junior high school was because of guidance from God, his parents’ support, his classmates and teachers being part of achieving his dreams, and to Good Neighbors, for the educational support and different opportunities to grow responsibly and holistically.
“Patuloy na mangarap, magsumikap at matiyaga dahil hindi po hadlang ang kahirapan sa buhay upang makapagtapos ng pag-aaral,” John Justine said. (Keep dreaming, work hard, and persevere, because poverty is not a hindrance in life to finish school.)
Now, Justine is more determined to pursue college and take Hotel & Restaurant Management courses where he can use and learn more about his interest in cooking. He always wanted to pursue his education until college to achieve his dreams for his family and become successful someday.
Over the past two years, the partnership of Good Neighbors International Philippines and the Department of Education (DepEd) Alternative System (ALS) in Pugad-Tibaguin and Sagrada Familia CDP have promoted an inclusive quality education.
It supported the learning needs of non-schoolers, drop-outs, and non-literate adults in the community to continue their education and eventually find better job opportunities.