Education As the Great Equalizer

Benjie Pantino, Benjames Go and Jerwin Rendon are just as ordinary as the students yousee hurrying to school. Their families are just as struggling to keep their collective heads above the tide of increasing cost of basic commodities and services.

No wonder then that with their mothers left at home to tend to younger siblings and manage the house, their fathers do all they can to provide food on the table three times a day, pay for electricity and other basic needs, and still have some extra to pay for the children’s schooling.

Some people may describe the Pantino, Go and Rendon families as enjoying a quality of life better than them. Surely, Rafael Pantino has a small tractor that he uses to plow the fields for a fee, a small furniture shop to keep him busy and a tricycle that can use in case there are no fields to plow or furniture to make. Jerry Go earns P370 a day as foreman while Redencio has a tricycle paid for by his eldest son.

But for a family that has only one earning individual, life can be as hard as those who live in the squalor of Manila squatter communities.

The difference with the topnotchers’ case is that they have parents who never stop working and children who shared their dreams of a better life. “Dala na inining pagtios,” Benjie said after his life-changing accomplishment. The very same words could well be uttered by Benjames and Jerwin.

These dutiful sons saw, on a daily basis, how their fathers worked hard and how their mothers managed on their limited budgets, and they probably vowed, “Never again!”

Now that their path to success has been laid down before them, all these achievers have to do is to bring to their first jobs the same tenacity, the same skill and the same sterling qualities of character that earned them the top threes lots in the civil engineering licensure examination.

Whoever said that poverty keeps him poor does not strive enough to raise himself out of the gutter. Whoever said that having a diploma has not given him a job probably did not learn enough in school to know that money comes to those who are willing to earn it.

Whoever says that the Catanduanes State Colleges’ 1-2-3 knockout punch is a stroke of good luck has not heard of the Pantino, Go and Rendon families, who believe in education as the great equalizer.

Source: Catanduanes Tribune - 30 November 2011