By: Virginia D. Enriquez
HT VI- English
Growing up, we all have been told about our limitations- about what we ought to do and what not to do. We are brought up in a generation in which lies about who we are abound. We have been categorized, labeled, and stereotyped. As a result, I have conformed to these so-called norms, the status quos that restricted me to become the person I am destined to be. However, that all changed when I met this teacher who defied the very works of gravity.
It was the start of the school year in 2006, I was rushing to the administration building when a limp man walking with his brace entered the building. To my curiosity, I followed and saw him entered the principal’s office. The principal welcomed him with a smile. I wondered if he’s a parent of a child in trouble who was called in the office, or a family friend or just a mere acquaintance of the principal. How astonished I was when I learned the other day that the man I saw walking lamely is a new teacher in the school. Since then, my curiosity about him spiked up. Given his circumstances, I wondered how this new teacher handles his class. Unfortunately, he is not under the English Department for me to answer my query. I have found out that he is an Araling Panlipunan teacher. Well, how could this teacher handle a subject that has been tagged by students as “boring?”
To my inquisitiveness, I tried observing English teachers near his classes and listened to him as he discussed his lessons. Every time I passed by on his room, the responses of the students are constant: they pay attention to him as if not a single info can’t be missed, they are pro-active and respectful, and they even enjoyably engaged themselves in his class activities. Now that World Teachers’ Day is fast approaching, I have the chance to know him better and give tribute to a marvelous teacher who had left a lasting legacy to our beloved institution.
Teacher Roylan T. Dela Cruz, a man with big heart and full of creative ideas is a native of Abucay , Bataan. His life according to him is an open book to all for him to inspire the youth especially those who are misled due to their vices. Sir Roylan as many call him was a product of a broken family. He had encountered so many misfortunes in life but he never gave up. He always consoled himself by considering those misfortunes as opportunities for him to grow as well as reminding himself that these misfortunes were not without God’s purpose.
When he was still a baby, he was struck by polio which caused his one leg shorter than the other. So by the time he learned to walk his brace became his friendly partner. But, this didn’t hinder him to enjoy his childhood days. Of course, he was not away from the scorn of the prying eyes of others because of his disability. He was always been the center of mockery by his classmates when he started schooling. And the bullies would pick up on him easily. But no matter how enormous the challenge to fit in in a close-minded society, he never backed down because he knew that his family would always be there for him.
But all of a sudden, his parents parted ways and he was left to his grandmother. To a child, nothing was more devastating than having a broken family. This event could make Sir Roylan developed anguish and hate in his heart towards the world but he never did. Instead, he chose to cultivate compassion and learning. Under his grandmother’s watch, he was not deprived of anything but the sense of a complete family. But then again, another twist in the plot came when his grandmother died and leaving no choice but to live with his unemployed mother.
His mother worked all day in the field for them to have something to eat. Their lives would have been easier if they were complete as a family. Seeing what his mother went through in the fields ignited his determination to finish his studies despite of his physical handicapped. When he graduated from elementary, his teacher did not award the scholarship due to him and gave it instead to his classmate who according to his teacher could afford to continue schooling. This hurt him badly and demotivated him for some time. But he had a big dream and his determination in achieving it was even bigger than him that nothing would deter it. So he learned to cope with from that event and started to find ways.
To pursue his college studies, he sought the help of his classmate’s father, Vice Mayor Elmer Limcumpao who helped him get a scholarship, talked to his Ninong Boy Ganzon for the 200 peso allowance and Mr Jun Herrera whom he approached for financial assistance, too. He also did some researches for his classmates to augment his other needs. But even if he got this far, he was not exempted to humiliations and rejections when he first enrolled to college.
Nevertheless, when Sir Roylan had been accepted in the school he tried to make a giant leap. Though he walked limply he showed to his teachers, classmates and friends that he could do what normal students can do. Though he graduated college without flying colors, he passed the licensure exam with high score. This inspired him more to apply for a teaching position in the schools which he thought he could share his wisdom and skills; but again he experienced rejections due to his deformity. Tears flooded on his face as if he wanted to give up ending his sufferings in life, but prayers helped him recovered from all the heart aches. Not until the day I first saw him for he was called to report at BNHS.
“Don’t judge the book by its cover,” is so cliché but I realized this quotation’s truthfulness. Sir Roylan has great contributions to the institution not only in terms of providing quality instruction but also made an innovation. His cleverly thought out waste bin impacted the school in terms of our segregation practices. His idea encouraged students to “shoot” empty plastic bottles instead of scattering them anywhere. Until now, his project continues to draw students’ attention to throw their plastic bottles in their proper places.
He became an assistant adviser of the Supreme Student Government for three consecutive years in which he cultivated sense of commitment and faithfulness to duty among the SSG officers. He could mobilize the student-officers in the cleaning drive during Brigada Eskwela. He also helped the SSG Adviser to pursue the campaign in Kontra Droga which immensely reduced the number of students who were hooked to drugs. These led him to receive awards and recognitions. He was awarded as Outstanding Teacher in Gawad Arellano and Dakilang Guro by the Provincial government.
I have developed an exciting and close relationship with him. Our friendship deepened when he approached me to help him write the history of our school, his biggest contribution for the school. He wrote the complete history of Bataan National High School which created a big impact not only to teachers, and administrators but most especially to students and alumni of this institution. And so far, it was the most complete and most reliable.
After these splendid accomplishments, he joined the Division ranking of Values Education Department Head and fortunately he ranked first and on February 15, 2016 he was promoted as Values Education Department Head and was assigned in the City of Balanga National High School. Parting is such a sweet sorrow, but then we have to accept the fact that Sir Roylan is now serving another school for his own professional growth and development. He has to grab that golden opportunity and breakthrough in life only knocks once.
Truly, one’s handicap or incapacities are not a hindrance to succeed in one’s endeavor. Perseverance and determination are what it takes to get on top or even do well in life. This has been proven and lived by Sir Roylan, a man born with limitations but lived beyond his own restrictions. May his example inspire every one of us in the teaching profession. That we are not bound with our limitations as long as we have faith, perseverance and determination to hurdle whatever that may come along our journey.
Kudos, Sir Roylan! Soar higher!!
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