The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Be Careful of What You're Leaving as a Legacy

(A Former Student's Recollection of His School Teachers)
(plus some tidbits of our vacation in the Philippines in January 2012)
by aLfie vera mella

When I reminisce about my elementary and highschool days, I remember also many of my teachers. Many of them remain to be very memorable to me because of various reasons like they were kind, supportive, really knowledgeable and diligent about the subject/s they were teaching, and really served as role models for students like me.

However, I will not deny the fact that many of my teachers back then were bad teachers--bullying and physically hurting students, asking money for imaginary projects, obviously lacked the knowledge in the subject/s they were teaching, or even threatening some students with failing marks for whatever reason.

(When my family and I visited our home country, Philippines, for one month last January 2012, I ensured that I got to visit my former schools. I asked for my former teachers, but unfortunately most of them had either long retired already or changed careers. I would have loved to have pictures of me with them taken, especially those whom I would always regard as inspirations and role models.)

 Formerly the intersection of P. Zamora St., P. Burgos St., and Libertad (now Arnaiz Avenue) in Pasay City, thousand times did I stand here to wait for a jeepney plying the Libertad-Evangelista route to take me home to Cuangco St., in Makati, where my family used to live in the 1970s until the early '90s. 

I went to St. Mary's Academy in Pasay City, from kindergarten to Grade 6 (1976 to 1984). 

After elementary, many male students of St. Mary's Academy (during my time, when the highschool level was still all-female) usually transferred to the fronting all-male (now coed) Sta. Clara Parish School, where I started and graduated high school, 1984 to 1988.

Now that I'm old, attending elementary and highschool reunions, I encounter again some of these teachers. Some fellow students simply laugh about the past, becoming chummy again even with teachers who had bullied or even terrorized them in the past. Not me. My respect and admiration remains only for those teachers who had really inspired me and served as good role models for me and for many of my former schoolmates.

To those teachers who belonged to the rotten club, they should be reminded of what they had done in the past or might still be doing now if in case they are still teaching. They should not be absolved of the bad things they had done in their academic careers, unless they had acknowledged their faults and had eventually learned how to correct their ways.

This is my reaction to the "tributes" that many fellow former schoolmates of mine that they post on our school groups on Facebook. Bad teachers should have acknowledged their mistakes and have learned to correct their ways first before they deserve to receive such accolades from former students of theirs.

One the popular variety stores during my time (and remains to be) was D Clarion, which served also as a meeting corner for Sta. Clara students (including me) during lunch time and dismissal time, waiting for and staring at beautiful St. Mary's students. With me in the picture above was the owner of the store, who surprisingly still recognized me as a highschool student. She said that I was one of the few students that she could remember after all those years, because I always looked different (and still did when she saw me last January).

 One thing I noticed about D Clarion was that it now looked and felt very small to me and the salespersons were now wearing uniforms. The one single thing that I would never forget about that store is the fact that since my kindergarten until my post-highschool days, it was where I always bought kiamoy.

 Libertad Street in Pasay City reminds me of thousands of moments and memories that I had there since my early childhood through my adolescent years. My family used to own in the 1970s a Shellane gas store in front of the old Fame Theater. My mom used to buy me shoes at this Jackson Shoes, which was still there when I visited the Philippines almost 10 years after leaving it for Canada.

As I look back, I remember very well such inspiring and really diligent teachers of mine whom included Miss Magpoc (Gr. 1), Miss Almadin (Gr. 2), Miss Lising (Gr. 5), Miss Acuzar (Gr. 5), Miss Ignacio (Gr. 4), Miss Zapata (Gr. 6), Miss Comia (Gr. 5), Miss Manguera (Gr. 6), Miss Manuel (Gr. 4), Mr. Mercardo (2nd year), Mr. Jarder (3rd year), Miss Ala (3rd year), Mr. Suarez (Vice Principal), Mr. delos Santos (2nd year), Mr. Garcia (2nd year), Mr. Dizon (3rd year), Mr. Dolatre (3rd year), Miss Saul (4th year), Miss Lugtu (4th year), Mr. Lopez (4th year), and many more whose names escape my memory right now.

And of course, I still remember very well those who belonged to the rotten club—Miss F——, Mr. Sa——, Mr. Mar——..., Mr. L——....and so on and so forth.

Nah, they don't deserve even a dishonorable mention of their names in my book.

My highschool alma mater, Sta. Clara Parish School, in Pasay City, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. The background music used in this photovideo, "High School (Life)," written by George Canseco and popularized by Sharon Cuneta, is the original version my former band Half Life Half Death conceptualized in 1988 for the graduation party of my batch and recorded commercially in 1995 for the compilation album Mga Himig Natin vol. 2, released by Vicor Records.

My class picture in Grade 4, St. Mary's Academy, 1980–'81. My class adviser was Miss Ignacio. I was the one sitting second from the right.

 My class picture in second-year high school; class adviser, Mr. Eduardo Mercado; I was in the first row, the fourth from the left.

My class picture in third-year high school; class adviser, Mr. Adrian Jarder; I was the one seated beside Mr. Jarder.

My class picture in fourth-year high school; class adviser, the late Miss Agbay; I was the third from the right in the very first row.


  • At Sunday, September 30, 2012 2:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ...I totally agree with you on the Ms F____ and Mr. Mar____.

  • At Thursday, January 24, 2013 1:09:00 AM, Blogger [vayie] said…

    First time I read this—a year too late! Sorry!

    I can’t help but to nod in agreement while reading this entry. We’re the same actually, I will never forget the teachers who I always looked up as role models as a student, but then again, I haven't forgotten the "rotten" ones (your words) too.

    Back in my freshmen years, a lot of things were getting lost inside classrooms (Money, wallet, personal things, etc.) and our class adviser then indirectly accused me as the one taking it. She would go: "Yung iba diyan, kunyari sasabihin may nawawala sa kanila pero ang totoo siya ang kumukuha…" or would suddenly blurt out: "Alam ko, Valerie, marami kang pera". I guess the reason why she thought I was the klepto in class was because I was an Alumni scholar at the time. Oo `nga naman, pagbintangan na natin ang mahirap, she must've thought.

    My classmates also felt at that time that I was the target of her insinuations and this bothered me bigtime so I told my parents about it. That very afternoon, Mom and Dad went to the school and reported my class adviser, who of course ends up denying it. After a few weeks, the real klepto was caught. I was vindicated—yes, but I have never forgiven that turd.

    Then there was this HS teacher of mine who saw me at Sta. Clara (she didn’t know I was an active choir member since Grade II) and she said: “Nagpapakita ka ng motibo”, being Sta. Clara as an all-boys’ school then. What the frack, I never even have a boyfriend from Sta. Clara for crying out loud! Tell me, how will you respect teachers like that?

    I admit wasn’t very likeable back then. I was not popular and some saw me as standoffish when the truth was I’m just somewhat of a loner. I can’t do anything about my facial muscles, my default expression is a glare—it is what it is. I am not part of popular group or any clique. Then again, I don’t think that should have been taken against me. There were many teachers that bullied me—or in our vernacular “pinag-initan ako” back in the days, just because I was not pretty, rich, “sipsip” or chummy with them.

    Arggh, you can’t get over things like that easily. They say time heals all wounds but I don’t see myself getting along with those former teachers of mine who never treated me right before. There’s nothing to laugh about such experiences during reunions. Thinking about it is still painful.

    Sorry for the long comment, eLf. I got carried away.

  • At Thursday, December 31, 2015 5:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey there, I'm also a SCPS graduate (1986, a year ahead of you). I was always in section A from second year to fourth year. But like you, I continue to harbor hurtful memories inflicted on me by some of the teachers there with Mr.Mar-- in particular.

    That sorry excuse of a teacher liked to humiliate me in front of the class. It almost felt like he got off on having the whole class laugh while he taunted me in front of everyone. I still have deep seated anger when I think of it. I've always wanted to face him now and tell him how much hurt he caused me and how little I learned from him. That's sad because I am a smart student.

    Mr. Suarez (RIP) was never a fan of me from the beginning. I got in trouble with him in second year but by third year he saw that I wasn't a bad student after all and became an ally of mine. He saw potential in me and was very supportive of my success.

    Again, thanks for posting this man. I don't remember you in HS but I wish you the best.

    ...from a former SCPS student now living in California


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