First day of classes in the Gabaldon
by Apolinar Derilo, MIF Chairperson
Tuesday, Nov. 8 happened to be a sunny bright morning and will be remembered as the beginning of classes in eight classrooms at the new Gabaldon building in Infanta Central Elementary School. Two Speed Classes and two Section 1 classes from Grades 3, 4, 5 & 6 were chosen to occupy the eight spacious classrooms.
Invited to attend the morning flag raising ceremony, my wife Sally and I witnessed the presence of the thousand or so students in front of the building before ushering the selected occupants to their respective rooms. On behalf of MIF, I gave a brief welcome talk followed by the Principal's, Dr. Carlos Crisostomo, laundry list of housekeeping rules and procedures in using the new building.
It is a rare privilege for both the students and their teachers to hold their classes inthe new building for the remaining term of the school year that ends in March, 2012. Their rooms can be considered above par compared to any classroom in the entire school complex. The rooms are visibly adequate to accommodate the students that average 40 in each section. All fully painted with appropriate colors, equipped with sturdy plastic desks from municipal donations, panoramic blackboards, and furnished with both floor and ceiling fans, teachings and other visual aids, the occupants eagerly came in to start their classes in a new atmosphere.
Besides the eight classrooms of the U-shaped Gabaldon, a library and computer rooms on the opposite front ends are available, while a large social and functional room lies in the middle. While the library is ready to be filled, the computer equipment from the Department of Education is waiting for installation and hook up to toe Internet far and beyond the confines of its four walls. Teachers will be trained to manage and operate the equipment. The fortunate students are destined to be formally educated about the basics and initiate their entry into the portals of current technology.
Asked about the decision of why only the "cream of crop” was chosen as the first occupants of the reconstructed school building, Dr. Crisostomo readily quipped “to motivate and reward deserving students.” Rightfully appropriate for the gifted students, the idea is contrary to the other parent population who argue that all those graduating students in March should be given preference to experience learning in the new classrooms.
This event appears to be another closing phase of the Gabaldon project. The building was actually turned over and inaugurated last July 23, 2011. The completion marked the realization of a dream sparked by a sight of a dilapidated building caused by typhoon Yoling in 1972. It took two decades before someone decided to end its continuing obscurity and decided to restore its original stature since the early 20th century. MIF president Mila Glodava, decisively pursued her response to the challenging question she had while visiting in 1995: “Why not restore the familiar icon of primary education – the Gabaldon type school building."
With a well-conceived idea, enthusiasm and ingenuous reliance on every Infantahins residing in the US, she embarked on the project aboard her flagship Metro Infanta Foundations, Inc. as well as its website for easy access and communications among the compatriots.
Her virtuous possession of the ‘innocence of childhood’ led to the realization that most of the people she depended on do not really deserve the expectation she anticipated. They would rather go along with other diversionary activities rather than sail along aboard her flagship and make the cruise more fun and meaningful. One can only speculate for the common reason of greed and pride. From a compiled list of 356 donors before the turnover, only 36 or 10% appear to have names from Infanta; the rest were foreign donors or married to Infantahins, 320 of them.
Simultaneous with project construction, the local Parents Teachers Association of Infanta Central Elementary School independently beautified the landscape and outdoor structures of Gabaldon. They included new pavements, a park like area with pergola, water fountains, benches and vehicle parking space on one end. During lean periods of MIF, advance credit was also made available for labor and urgent construction materials. Headed by its current president Zaldy A. Villanueva, this local organization along its officers and members was a real partner in heading for the common goal: improving a learning opportunity for the children. Thanks everyone.